Nationals Still in Striking Distance of Braves; Division Odds Improve to +600

The 2019 Washington Nationals are just like a reluctant child in learn-to-swim classes. They keep treading water. Every time you think they may be poised to make a move on the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, the Nats shrivel up and let the opportunity escape them. The Nationals now sit 6.5 games behind the Braves. Washington is awarded +600 chances to overtake Atlanta in the NL Divisional odds. *Odds taken on 08/12/19. Washington is only five games behind Atlanta in the reduction column and still two up on the towering New York Mets. Just past the midway mark of July, Washington took just two of four games from the Braves in Atlanta. The Nats followed up by winning three of four by the Colorado Rockies. They’d moved to within four games of the Braves. This, though, is not a team that embraces riches or opportunity. Since then, Washington has dropped four of five string. That included falling twice throughout a three-game home set from the Braves. They finished a nine-game road trip Sunday with a win over the New York Mets in Citi Field to complete the journey with their heads barely above water. Washington went 5-4 about the trip. The Nationals are a mediocre 15-13 since the All-Star Break. They are not just charging down the Braves. The Detroit Tigers would be the American League version of the Nationals not so long ago. Like Washington, they boasted a sensational beginning rotation. Heck, one starter — Max Scherzer — has been a part of both rotations. Between 2006-14, Detroit made the playoffs five times and played in two World Series, but never came close to winning it all, because the Tigers did not bother to invest in a bullpen. Sound familiar, Washington fans? In Friday’s opener of this big three-game series from the Mets, Washington nearer Sean Doolittle coughed up a 6-3 lead in the ninth and was walked 7-6. Ahead of Friday, the Mets had dropped 187 consecutive games when down three runs in the ninth inning. Washington owns an MLB-worst 6.07 bullpen ERA. Even if you were to discard the dreadful 22.74 ERA of those deceased Trevor Rosenthal, then the Nats will still own an MLB-bottom 5.63 ERA. Nationals relievers have blown 22 of 52 rescue opportunities. Even guys who earn their cover covering the national disgrace that resides within DC in the White House recognize that the Washington bullpen is a Nationals disgrace. Holding the initial NL Wild Card spot, the Nationals begin a significant six-game homestand Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. That is followed by three games with the Milwaukee Brewers, such as the Reds a team in the Wild Card hunt. This should be Washington’s attention. The old baseball adage is that you need a week’s worth of games to make up for a single game in the standings. The Nats have been 6.5 matches outside with seven weeks to perform with, therefore their division-winning window is closing fast. They have seven games left with Atlanta but will practically should go at least 5-2 because stretch to have any opportunity. The Nationals play with 17 of their last 45 games against Wild Card teams, 19 games against present play clubs and only 15 against teams using sub-.500 records. The wisest move for Washington is forget about the division and lock on bending down the Wild Card. Let us have fun and keep it civil.

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