I like to think I'm a realist. Not a cheerleader and not a bridge jumper. I guess many of us self-identify that way.
Over the past couple of weeks, as the Washington Nationals peeled off 7 wins in a row to suddenly become "the hottest team in baseball" according to MLB TV, ESPN and most national media, I've been banging every drum here possible to assure you any concerns about a DC threat to our flank were well overblown.
I know the team well. Go to a bunch of games and follow them as closely as I do the Reds since the Nats are local for me.
They have been, and will finish the year as not just one of the four biggest busts in the game (with Toronto, SF and the Angels) but also as the leading contender for "most mediocre."
They've played .500 ball every month this year. Until this just-ended 7-game streak, they'd never strung together more than 5 wins all year. Most of all though, beyond all the abominable first-half offensive stats and horrible D, the team has had a huge attitude, leadership and chemistry problems. That stuff matters intensely but isn't as quantifiable as all the on-field metrics.
They lost 5-4 tonight to the Phillies. And, they did it in classic 2013 Nats fashion. The score shouldn't have even been that close were it not for a timely seeing-eye single by Harper. We were at the game.
The Nats represent NO threat to the Reds. They haven't and they won't. I've been posting that here for a few weeks but it keeps coming up so I figured, why not a thread on it?
We need to worry about beating the bad teams that seem to tie us in knots (Houston shortly). And, of course, we need to take at least 4 or so of the 6 remaining with Pittsburgh. That's to have a shot at the division title, which I'd really like to see us get. Of the 13 games we have remaining, I'm more worried about the 7 against the "bad" teams (MILx1, HOUx3, NYMx3) than I am about the half-dozen vs the "good" team (PIT).
I've been 200% confident for a month that we'd be in the post-season. I've had no confidence about what happens starting with October. Haven't a clue what we'd do in a one game WC playoff or in an LDS, especially after what happened last year.
But, as I've posted repeatedly on several threads here in August and September, the Nats are irrelevant. Really, they are. Maybe they'll beat Philly tomorrow to win that series. Maybe they won't. Then the Braves come into DC and they are not going to lie down at all still fighting for home-field advantage. They've totally dominated DC this year. Then STL. The D-Backs. The Nats, currently 10-3 for Sept, will be lucky to finish this month, and the year, above .500.