MIAMI – As the clock ticks down on September, the value of each game result grows. And what gave the impression of a tight race most effective days ago starts to look greater at ease.

No, the Nationals haven’t clinched something but. Not even close to it. But inside the simple act of prevailing 6-four Friday night over the Marlins, and especially inside the simple act of looking the Cubs lose 3 days in a row (once to the Reds, two times to the Cardinals), the Nats have positioned themselves in a quite fine function.

They’re one game up on the Brewers for home-field gain inside the National League wild-card spot. That’s still tight. But they’re now 3 games up at the Cubs for a gap inside the Oct. 1 winner-take-all sport.

And at the same time as that would have nevertheless sounded too close for consolation no longer long in the past, a three-recreation lead at this overdue stage of the season is quite great.

All the more so while you bear in mind the Brewers and Cubs simplest play 8 greater games while the Nationals play 10. That approach the Nats’ lead inside the loss column is even large: two video games over Milwaukee, four video games over Chicago.

Let’s do the math. If the Nationals pass five-five the rest of the manner, they finish 89-seventy three. In order to also attain 89 wins, the Brewers want to go 5-3 whilst the Cubs want to move 7-1. It’s going to be exceedingly tough for Chicago to pull that off, with 5 head-to-head games against St. Louis nonetheless at the time table.

Rendon-High-Fives-Soto-Gray-Sidebar.JpgLet’s take it one step farther. If the Nationals move 6-four the relaxation of the manner, they end 90-73. As said here earlier than, ninety wins guarantees at worst a tiebreaking Game 163, due to the fact the Cubs can’t win more than 90 video games at this point. The Brewers want to move 6-2 to match that mark.

Point is, the Nats and Brewers are in quite an appropriate shape proper now. And the Cubs have pretty much reached the point of desperation.

So a wild card matchup among Washington and Milwaukee appears extra probable by way of the day. Again, it’s a long way from a lock. The Brewers nevertheless ought to capture the Cardinals, win the NL Central crown and bump St. Louis right down to a wild card slot. But Nats-Brewers is the maximum in all likelihood matchup at this factor.

Which approach the biggest looming question the rest of the manner can be: Which city receives to host the wild card recreation? This is wherein the Nationals need to hold a lead over the Brewers instantly via the finish line.

If the 2 clubs turn out to be tied at season’s end, Milwaukee might host the wild card game, by means of virtue of its 4-2 head-to-head record this year. The Nats, by means of a distinctive feature of a 4-2 head-to-head file, might get to host the Cubs. But that requires a huge turnaround at Wrigley Field the rest of the weekend.

So if the Nationals in reality care now not handiest approximately clinching a wild card berth, but additionally of website hosting the sport on South Capitol Street, they’re going to should maintain off the tough-charging Brewers, winners in thirteen in their last 15 video games and proprietors of a very tremendous agenda down the stretch (two more with the teach ruin Pirates, then 3 apiece with the subpar Reds and Rockies).

That’s wherein matters stand in this Saturday morning. Check back in 24 hours, although, because these items have a tendency to swing in dramatically one of a kind directions based totally on simplest more than one sports consequences.

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