Well, we knew we’d get here sooner or later. The Nationals’ 2021 season took an unfortunate turn for the worse two months ago when the team went 8-18 in July, and the course set when the Nationals made multiple deadline deals was going to end in the land of elimination at some point. That moment was Friday night when the team lost to Colorado and was suddenly mathematically out of contention for the NL East and the Wild Card. Welcome to mop-up time.
Digesting the Division: Atlanta (77-70) owns a two-game lead over Philadelphia (76-73). The two teams play a three-game series next week. The Phillies have consecutive series against last place teams so there’s a very good chance they’ll be playing for the NL East lead next week, and if they’re not they only have themselves to blame. The New York Mets (73-77) remain on the fringe of contention while Miami (63-86) was eliminated Sunday to join the Nationals (61-88) on the other side of life.
O’s Woes: the Birds (47-102) in getting swept by Boston reach the century mark for losses for the third time in four years. They did post their 47th victory, meaning they won’t be setting a franchise record for defeats in a season. The schedule is not kind, as nine of their final 13 games are against clubs fighting for playoff berths. They’ll get to 50 wins, right?
Say Isn’t That? Max Scherzer struck out seven over six innings in his lone outing of the week, improving to 15-4 with a 2.08 ERA. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since Aug. 21 and hasn’t lost a decision since May 30. Dodgers teammate Trea Turner leads the National League with a .316 batting average. Yan Gomes homered for Oakland in the A’s win Sunday (they’ve won five straight). Josh Harrison is hitting .385 with 12 RBI in September for the Wild Card contenders (Oakland is two games back).
Last Week’s Heroes: Josh Harrison hit .412 while Juan Soto batted .400 with five walks. Lane Thomas scored a team-high five runs while notching a team-high 6 RBI. Josh Rogers tossed five scoreless innings in his lone start while Erick Fedde allowed one run over five frames.
Last Week’s Humbled: Patrick Corbin’s nightmare season continues with five runs allowed over four innings against Colorado. Alberto Baldonado and Kyle Finnegan also posted double-digit ERA’s. Carter Kieboom hit .087 with seven strikeouts.
Game to Watch: Tuesday the Nats are in Miami and pitch Josh Rogers against the Marlins Trevor Rogers for the second time in two weeks. In a series where both teams are out of contention, this is where we get our joy.
Game to Miss: Thursday the Nats begin a series in Cincinnati against the rapidly fading Reds. Patrick Corbin (8-15, 6.11 ERA) pitches against Sonny Gray (7-8 with losses in his last two starts). “Grey’s Anatomy” is still on, right?