Pump It Up
Nats 5, Fish 2
Despite the fact we were in this all along -- at least mathematically -- a week ago I wouldn't have believed the Nats could be only 1.5 games out of the wild card with 24 games remaining.
They just weren't playing well. Whenever the opponent jumped out to a lead, it seemed that the game was all but over. And even if the Nats managed to come back from monumental deficits, as they did against New York and Atlanta, they would still lose a heartbreaker. Washington didn't have any confidence in itself, and frankly, neither did a lot of fans.
But they seem to have found their edge. With three consecutive victories in must-win games, I think the team has got the message that this is crunch time. Despite the clubhouse tensions Boswell has reported, the gravity of what's at stake may have finally shown up on the field.
And if that's means they're not allowed to play music or cards or movies in the clubhouse, then great. It's time to put all of their energy into baseball.
They're showing energy too. ¡Livan!, whose eight innings of masterful pitching earned him back his exclamation points, was a model of enthusiasm on the mound and at the plate. Marlon Byrd, who has been on a tear since returning from AAA, was animated in celebrating his successes at the plate. And Cristian Guzman, who had been removed from the game, was the first to greet ¡Livan! as he returned to the dugout to a standing ovation.
Indeed, the fun has begun. Of course, with Darrell Rasner and John Halama getting the next two starts, it may be a little less than fun the next two days.