Nationals Notebook: Scraping at the century

We’re not hanging a banner for this — please be kind. But for one more weekend, the Washington Nationals have not lost 100 games.

Sunday’s 6-1 win at Miami saw the Nats avoid the century mark for losses, and wrapping up last place in the NL East, for at least one more day.

Sadly, those are the straws that we are grasping at, but in a world where the NHL team hasn’t won a playoff series since 2018, the NBA team hasn’t had a winning record since the same year, and the NFL team hasn’t been over .500 since 2016, Washington isn’t exactly a world of awesome in 2022.

Ain’t Missing You: One is floored that San Diego has not locked up a playoff berth, even with almost two months of the Nats’ former best two players. For those curious, Juan Soto is hitting .242 with five homers and 15 RBI in 42 games with San Diego, while Josh Bell is batting .191 with three homers and 12 RBI.

Digesting the Division: The New York Mets (97-57) own a game and a half lead over Atlanta (95-58). The Mets currently own the No. 2 seed (and a first-round bye) in the NL, while the Braves have the first Wild Card in their hands. Philadelphia (83-69) owns a game and a half lead for the final playoff spot. Miami (63-90) is almost assured of not finishing last. You know where that leaves Washington (53-99) for the third straight season.

O’s Woes: Their Wild Card hopes (79-73) weren’t necessarily dashed over the weekend, but two losses over the weekend puts the Birds four games back with 10 games play. This means the Birds could use one of those “September Surges” that results in a playoff berth. Baltimore goes on the road for series at Boston (they’re 8-7 against the Red Sox this year) and New York (they’re 5-11-not too good-against the Yankees).

Last Week’s Heroes: Joey Meneses batted .440 with three homers and six RBI. Alex Call hit .385 while C.J. Abrams batted .333. Andres Machado notched a win in relief against Atlanta while Paolo Espino tossed four solid innings (allowing one run) to set up the bullpen. Anibal Sanchez also tossed five scoreless innings Sunday in a Nats victory.

Last Week’s Humbled: With the exception of Sanchez’ outing, the starters continued to struggle. Patrick Corbin left his outing in the first inning with back issues. Rookie Cory Abbott allowed four runs over four innings while Erick Fedde coughed up four runs over 5.2 frames. Luis Garcia hit .115 while Riley Adams batted .071 and Luke Voit went .080 with 15 strikeouts in 25 at bats. Perhaps those jerseys are too tight?

Game to Watch: Tuesday, Patrick Corbin is slated to start against Atlanta and Max Fried. The Nats are still on the hook for two more seasons, and while I’m not expecting the 2019 Corbin, I’m hoping we don’t get the pitcher of the last three years. Every start deserves the microscope heading into the offseason.

Games to Miss: Philadelphia drops by the District this weekend. And there’s the lockout-induced day-night doubleheader on Saturday. Hmm, a chance to see Bryce Harper and the Phillies try to nail down a Wild Card berth against a 100+ loss Nats team? Forget the 1:05 p.m. game — I’m watching Navy-Air Force (noon kickoff). And in between Maryland meeting Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. and Virginia visiting Duke at 7:30 p.m., that 7:05 p.m. start might get shuffled out of the deck too.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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