September 2012

What to Watch For: 9/25

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Washington Nationals (93-60) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (77-76)

LHP Ross Detwiler (10-6, 3.10) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (15-6, 3.05)

The Nationals embark on their final road trip of the season following a 4-3 homestand against the Dodgers and Brewers. Southpaws Ross Detwiler and Cole Hamels tangle in the first of a three-game set in Philadelphia, as the Nats and Phillies prepare to play six of their final nine games against one another.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From manager Davey Johnson on resting his regulars down the stretch:

“We’re in a pennant race. You take nothing for granted in a pennant race. We’ve still got to win five games.”

That being said…

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

C-NOTE

Just two RBI shy of the century mark, Adam LaRoche looks to become the third player to record a 100-RBI season in a Nationals uniform, joining Ryan Zimmerman (‘06, ‘09) and Adam Dunn (‘09-10). The Nationals mark for RBI in a season was accomplished when Zimmerman drove home 110 as a rookie in 2006. After a slow start offensively, Zimmerman has tallied 71 of his 93 RBI in his last 81 contests and needs just seven to reach the 100-RBI plateau.

ROSS THE BOSS

Coming off a win over the Dodgers on Thursday, Ross Detwiler looks to collect his 11th win of the season tonight against Philadelphia. This will be just his second start of the season against the Phillies, but note that Detwiler has tossed 14.1 straight scoreless innings in his last two starts against the NL East rivals. Moreover, Ross is 7-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 14 games/12 starts against NL East rivals in 2012.

NOTABLE NOTES

One year ago today (entering play on Aug. 26, 2011), the (tied for) third-place Nationals trailed the first-place Phillies in the NL East standing by 21.5 games. This year, the two clubs have swapped spots in the standings as Washington holds a 16.0-game advantage over the third-place Phillies in the NL East. Washington is 12-9 against the Phillies since Davey Johnson became manager, including a 4-1 mark in one-run games. Before going 10-8 against the Phillies in ‘11, the Nationals/Expos had won only two season series from Philly the previous 14 years.

DATE IN D.C. BASEBALL

September 25, 1932: Walter Johnson earns his final win as manager of the Senators, a 2-1 decision over the Philadelphia A’s at Griffith Stadium. Johnson’s 1932 Nationals won 93 games, but finished third in the American League, 14.0 games behind the 107-win Yankees.

September 25, 2007: The Nationals edge the Mets, 10-9, at Shea Stadium, but the game’s ending is noteworthy. Up 10-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, Jon Rauch (save) staves off New York’s furious rally by retiring Carlos Delgado (K) and Paul Lo Duca (F9) with the tying run in scoring position.

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The Sun Monster

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“The Sun Monster got me.”

Those were Bryce Harper’s words after the natural conditions at Nationals Park colluded with the Milwaukee Brewers to defeat the Nationals 6-2 on Sunday afternoon. With the harsh, mid-afternoon sun bearing down on right and center fields in the middle innings of day games in D.C., any ball hit with a high enough trajectory to clear the top of the seating bowl in the eyes of the outfielders is susceptible to disappearing against the blinding backdrop.

The “Sun Monster” on Monday afternoon at Nats Park (from Twitter: @JackOBeam)

Harper and Jayson Werth took turns battling the brutal glare on Sunday (Sun-day?), mostly unsuccessfully. Harper lost a ball in the mid-afternoon glare that dropped for a double, with the Brewers scoring the first two runs of the game in the fourth inning. He later managed to fight off the sun just enough to make a catch on which he fell to his knees. Just when the Nationals may have thought they had weathered the worst of it, another would-be routine fly ball was hit straight into the sun’s path at Werth, again dropping as the outfielder had no chance to pick up the white ball against the blinding glare. Milwaukee would take advantage again, posting a three-run inning.

But the Sun Monster giveth, and the Sun Monster taketh away. That’s the lesson the Brewers learned on Monday along the banks of the Anacostia.

With the go-ahead run already in, leading 2-1 with two outs (again in the fourth inning), Werth lofted a fly ball out to right-center field. Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez drifted over, but could not find the ball until it was nearly on top of him, diving futilely at the last moment as it clanked off his wrist and dropped to the turf. Two runs scored on the play, but it was after Harper followed with a walk that the Nationals took full advantage. Ryan Zimmerman belted an opposite-field, three-run shot, his 24th of the season, to cap a six-run frame on the way to a 12-2 blowout victory.

Werth acknowledged that the sun tends to be at its brightest this time of year, as well as in the earliest part of the season. We here at Curly W Live are certainly not astronomers, but we find it interesting that such a time would correspond roughly with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes (the latter of which fell on Saturday), perhaps accounting for the sun being on a particular trajectory that ends up blasting right and center fields at these particular times of year. Regardless of the reason, it will be something to keep an eye on, or shade yourself from, as the Nationals face the prospect of either mid- or late-afternoon start times during the postseason.

What to Watch For: 9/24

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Milwaukee Brewers (79-73) vs. Washington Nationals (92-60)

RHP Marco Estrada (4-6, 3.56) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (11-8, 2.96)

The Nationals can earn a split of this series and secure a winning homestand with a victory over the Brewers this afternoon. Jordan Zimmerman, who has allowed just five earned runs total over his last three starts (2.50 ERA), looks to run his winning streak to three in a row against Milwaukee righty Marco Estrada.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

MORE GRAVY FOR DAVEY

With a postseason berth now assured, Davey Johnson will be escorting his sixth club (Mets in ‘86, ‘88; Reds in ‘95; Orioles in ‘96, ’97; Nationals in ‘12) into the postseason…it should be noted that Johnson’s ‘94 Reds were in first place in the NL Central upon the season being cancelled due to labor strife.

SOMETHING BREWING

The Nationals have not won a season series at the Brew Crew’s expense since going 5-1 in 2006, but can do so with a win in today’s series finale. Since Milwaukee shifted to the NL, the Nationals/Expos and Brewers have played in six ballparks: Nationals Park, RFK Memorial Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Miller Park, County Stadium and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico.

TEENY BOPPER

19 year-old Bryce Harper’s 19 homers hit as a teen are tied for second on the all-time list with Hall-of-Famer Mel Ott. Only a teenaged Tony Conigliaro (24) hit more. Harper turns 20 on October 16.

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National Milestones

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It was as perfect a day at the ballpark as any baseball fan could have asked for. On a gorgeous, sunny fall afternoon, the Nationals offense was peppering balls all around the yard while Gio Gonzalez methodically shut down a potent lineup on his way to an historic 20th victory in front of a packed house. And then, suddenly, time stood still as the entire fan base, both present and at home, held its collective breath, watching their ace tumble off the mound, lying motionless for a second, face first on the grass.

As it turned out, Gonzalez had just caught his cleat and stumbled, not actually hurt himself. He remained on the ground for the extra beat simply out of embarrassment, but obviously took the events in stride, as whatever he said behind his mitt as the infield, coaches and trainers gathered on the mound caused Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche to break out in laughter. He then doffed his cap to the crowd, bringing an uproarious reaction, then stepped back on the mound and threw a hard breaking ball, inducing a check-swing third strike from Martin Maldonado.

It was a moment befitting Gio’s personality, his wide smile and gregarious nature often at odds with his devastating arsenal of power pitches and fierce competitiveness. By the end of the day, he had the crowd chanting “GI-O,” over his post-game interview, as he gave his thoughts on becoming the first Major Leaguer to win 20 games this season.

His accomplishment was more impressive than just that, though. He became just the second left-hander in D.C. baseball history to win 20, and the first since Earl Whitehill in 1933. When he blew a 95 mile-per-hour, letter-high fastball past Jean Segura in the top of the fifth, he became the first District hurler to fan more than 200 batters in a season since the legendary Walter Johnson in 1916, 96 years ago. With top-five rankings in the National League in wins (20, first), ERA (2.84, tied-fourth), strikeouts (201, fourth), and opponents batting average (.204, first), he has positioned himself as a top contender for the National League Cy Young award.

Adam LaRoche’s blast was historic personally and for the Nationals.

Meanwhile, the offense showed up in a big way, as Zimmerman, LaRoche and Ian Desmond all went deep in the 10-4 rout. LaRoche’s blast in the sixth capped the scoring for the day and also matched his career high as his 32nd longball of the season. But his blast broke another record, largely overlooked in the moment. It gave the Nationals 179 home runs for the season, breaking the all-time Expos/Nationals franchise record set back in 2000, making this the most powerful team in club history with 11 games still to play.

With the victory, the Nationals also continued to add to their most impressive team statistic of this remarkable rise. Following the 2009 season in which they went just 59-103, the Nats won 69 games, an improvement of 10 wins in ’10. Last season, Washington won 80 games, giving them 11 more wins in 2011 than the year prior. And with their 92nd win of the 2012 season yesterday, they have added 12 wins and counting in 2012, a stunning march from the bottom of the pack to the top, where they currently sit with the best record in the Major Leagues.

They owe much of that success this season to both Gonzalez and LaRoche, so it was only fitting that the two of them delivered the record-setting strikeout, win and home run.

What to Watch For: 9/23

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Milwaukee Brewers (78-73) vs. Washington Nationals (92-59)

RHP Yovani Gallardo (16-8, 3.68) vs. RHP Chien-Ming Wang (2-3, 6.92)

The Nationals pounded out 13 hits including three home runs in a 10-4 victory on Saturday to even this four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at a game apiece. Chien-Ming Wang makes his first start since June 19 as the Nats hope to solve Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo again, after hanging seven runs on the righty in five innings in Milwaukee back in July.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Wang RHP

START ME UP

Chien-Ming Wang makes his fifth start of the season (ninth appearance) for the Nationals today against the Brewers, a club which he has never faced. Opposing Wang is Yovani Gallardo, who comes to D.C. with a string of eight straight winning decisions since July 31.

HOMER HAPPY

The Nationals 179 home runs are the most hit by a team representing the Nation’s Capital (1901-71, 2005-present) and the most hit in the 44-year history of the Nationals/Expos franchise. Washington ranks second in the NL this season in homers, only MIL (188) has more.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 23, 2007: Austin Kearns finishes 3-for-4 with two RBI to lift the Nationals to a come-from-behind, 5-3 win over the Phillies in the 1,047th and final MLB game played at RFK Memorial Stadium. The win averted a four-game series sweep and gave the Nationals (122-121) a winning record in their three-year stay at RFK.

September 23, 2006: Nick Johnson fractures his right femur during a collision with right fielder Austin Kearns in the eighth inning of a 12-6 loss at New York. Johnson had successful surgery later that night.

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What to Watch For: 9/22

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Milwaukee Brewers (78-72) vs. Washington Nationals (91-59)

RHP Wily Peralta (2-0, 2.14) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95)

 The Nationals have split the first four contests of their current seven-game homestand, and are looking to bounce back after last night’s loss to the Brewers. Gio Gonzalez takes the hill for Washington as he attempts to become the first 20-game winner in Nationals history.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

VIEW FROM THE TOP

The Nationals own MLB’s best winning percentage at .607 thanks in part to a 42-25 (.627) mark since the All-Star break. Washington currently owns 0.5- and 2.0-game leads over the Reds and Rangers, respectively, in the race for the best record in MLB. The Nationals have either led the NL East or shared the top spot for 154 of the season’s 164 days. Only the Rangers (161) have enjoyed more days atop of their division in ‘12.

SEPTEMBER NORM

Washington is 11-8 in September and remains MLB’s only team to have played winning baseball every month this year: August (19-10), July (17-9), June (15-10), May (15-13), April (14-8). Including a 17-10 mark in September of ’11, Washington has posted six straight winning months.

D.C.’S DYNAMIC DUO

Thanks to DL stints, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse have started only 89 games together, but in those 89 games, Washington is 60-29 (.674) and is averaging 5.1 runs per contest (455 runs, 89 games). When Zimmerman and/or Morse are not in Davey Johnson’s starting lineup this season, the Nationals are 31-30 (.508) and averaging 3.5 runs per game.

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What to Watch For: 9/21

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Milwaukee Brewers (77-72) vs. Washington Nationals (91-58)

RHP Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.91) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.89)

The Nationals made franchise history Thursday night, becoming the first D.C.-based Major League team to qualify for postseason play since 1933. They open a four-game set with the Brewers – who are fighting for the final National League Wild Card spot – tonight at Nats Park, as Edwin Jackson takes the hill opposite Shaun Marcum.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Flores C

9. Jackson RHP

EDWIN SEEKS 10

Edwin Jackson takes his third shot at earning his 10th win season tonight vs. Milwaukee. If he notches the victory, he will become the fifth Nationals starter with a double-digit win total. For his career, Jackson is 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA in six starts against the Brewers. 

THE NEXT MAGIC MOMENT

Having clinched a spot in MLB’s postseason on Thursday, the Nationals now turn their attention to winning the NL East. Washington’s Magic Number to clinch the division title is eight.

ABOUT THOSE BREWERS…

The Nationals have not won a season series at the Brew Crew’s expense since going 5-1 in 2006. Washington is 7-5 in one-run games against the Brewers beginning in 2005. Since Milwaukee shifted to the NL, the Nationals/Expos and Brewers have played in six ballparks: Nationals Park, RFK Memorial Stadium, Olympic Stadium, Miller Park, County Stadium and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico. Washington and Milwaukee are both former AL cities that have evolved into NL towns. The

Senators (AL East) and Brewers (AL West) were AL rivals in 1970 and ‘71. The Senators won the two-year AL series, 13-11.

DATE IN DC BASEBALL

September 21, 2010: The Nationals plate seven runs in the eighth inning – all with two outs – to surge past the Astros, 8-4. In the victory, Tyler Clippard posted his 10th relief win and became the first relief pitcher in D.C. baseball history to record 100 strikeouts in a single season.

September 21, 1961: Playing before only 1,498 fans, the Senators lose, 6-3, to (coincidentally) the Twins, in the final game played at Griffith Stadium.

September 21, 1933: With a 2-1 win over the visiting St. Louis Browns, the AL Nationals claim their third American League Championship in 10 years (also 1924, and ’25). Unfortunately, no D.C.-based big league club has won a pennant since.

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This Is Happening

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It’s only appropriate, on this last day of summer, that we can officially begin to discuss postseason baseball in Washington D.C. no longer as a “likelihood” or a “probability,” but as a reality. That’s the thing about the baseball season – a hot start is great, like the one the Nationals stormed out to by winning 10 of their first 14 games, but in the scope of a six-month marathon, it means very little. All the excitement of holding down first place is fantastic fun, but it does not mean anything until this time of year. There are no cheaply won postseason spots in our sport, and only sustained success over the duration of the spring and summer will lead to those meaningful games in October that Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and everyone around the organization have been talking about since Spring Training.

Yes, the National League East remains undecided, with a combination of eight Nationals wins and/or Braves losses still needed to determine the division crown. Beyond that lie the fight for home field advantage through the various rounds of the playoffs. These Nationals have taken nothing for granted so far this season, and you can be sure they won’t start now. Nevertheless, one indelible fact remains: there will be postseason baseball in our Nation’s Capital for the first time in 79 years.

Michael Morse celebrated as Ryan Zimmerman raced home on a wild pitch.

“What’s the big deal?” an exuberant Johnson jokingly questioned of the press corps, as fans watching his post-game press conference in the adjoining Lexus Presidents Club cheered his arrival.

The Nationals almost clinched their postseason spot Wednesday night in dramatic, surprising fashion, coming from nowhere to overcome a six-run, eighth-inning deficit, only to fall to the Dodgers, 7-6 in the ninth. While that would have been a game for the ages, long remembered by those who stuck it out to the end, it would have supported the script that is often preached, but not necessarily accurate, about this year’s Washington club, that all of this sudden success is a surprise. In actuality, it is the culmination of years of building the right way, from the ground up, and simply watching the pieces come together at the Major League level all at once. In a sense, it was much more fitting that the history was made thanks to a well-pitched, well-defended game, trademarks of a team that Washington fans have fallen in love with this season.

Drew Storen gave the game and the fans their endearing moment to cherish, as he faced the daunting middle of the Dodgers lineup – Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez – holding a three-run lead in the ninth. The cushion would turn out to be more than enough. Storen painted a perfect, outside corner fastball to freeze Kemp, Wednesday night’s hero. He then handcuffed Gonzalez, the powerful lefty’s bat waving helplessly over a disappearing changeup. Finally, he blew away Nationals nemesis Hanley Ramirez – who owned a career .339 (147-for-433) mark with 27 home runs against the Nats coming into the at-bat – on a nasty slider to end it, pounding his mitt once and high-fiving catcher Kurt Suzuki in celebration.

Drew Storen struck out the side in the ninth to nail down the clinch.

“I didn’t even think about it until I saw it on the scoreboard afterwards,” said Storen of the clinching moment. “I was just having fun. The crowd was real into it. If you’re not out there having fun in that situation, you shouldn’t be out there.”

And though Storen provided the coup de gras, seemingly everyone chipped in. Ryan Zimmerman opened the scoring with a booming double to the left-center field gap, scoring Bryce Harper in the third inning. Danny Espinosa had an RBI-double of his own, and came in to score on a Suzuki sacrifice fly, the culmination of a hard-fought, professional at-bat. Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth each had a pair of hits, with the shortstop stealing one bag and the outfielder swiping a pair. As it has been all year with this team, you never know who the hero will be, and there were many of them Thursday night.

Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, continued to impress, and continued to show why this team has a real chance to make a deep October run. With six nearly flawless innings, in which a solo home run and a pair of singles were the only bumps in an otherwise smooth road to his career-best 10th victory, he quieted the powerful Dodgers lineup to put the Nationals in position to clinch.

Zimmerman and Werth celebrate the historic night.

“It was great seeing all of them on their feet,” the lanky lefty said of the crowd. “It really gives you the chills a bit to see how into it all of them were.”

Detwiler has consistently gone about his business, and though he is sometimes overshadowed by his teammates, there is no hiding his 6-3 record and 2.76 ERA in 13 starts since the All-Star break. He also became the fourth Nationals starter to hit double-digits in wins on Thursday, with Edwin Jackson sitting on nine victories heading into his start tonight against Milwaukee.

Speaking of those pesky Brewers, they are suddenly hot, and have clawed their way back into the race for the second National League Wild Card spot. In fact, the final four series on the Nationals schedule – Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Philadelphia again – all bring teams fighting for every game, their postseason lives at stake. Each game will be its own challenge, as the Nats try to wrap up the division. Those battles begin again tonight. But for today, at least, allow yourself to soak in the reality.

This is happening.

From the Desk of Mark Lerner: Step One

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Hello everyone.

As all Nationals fans undoubtedly know, last night the ballclub clinched D.C.’s first postseason berth since 1933.

Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and the entire clubhouse will be quick to remind us that this is just the first step in an October journey. And they could not be more right. That said, there is no harm in taking a moment to reflect on just what has happened here.

Davey Johnson celebrates the first postseason in D.C. since 1933.

I imagine that the far-ranging emotions we are all feeling are equal parts wonderful and euphoric, and everything between. Think about the span of generations this postseason clinch affects.

Take my family for instance. My father, Ted Lerner, remembers the 1933 World Series. He was eight years old at the time. I think his long-term vision on how to build a franchise has set up this moment for all of us to enjoy. Most of my youth was spent following the exploits of the expansion Senators in the 1960′s. My three children grew up in the era where there was an unfortunate baseball void in Washington, D.C., and could only go to games at Camden Yards like a lot of us.

As diverging as my family’s perspectives are, how different is this moment in time for the youngsters in our area that were raised on Nationals baseball by Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Even within this modern grouping, you can see the differing perspectives.

But come the first weekend in October, that will change. This town, which is predicated on dueling political philosophies, will unite to witness postseason baseball in D.C. for the first time in 79 years. We’ll stand, clap and cheer together. Being together, united behind one cause, is something that this town is not used to, especially in October of an election year. But now we know it is coming and I cannot wait!

Some other quick thoughts after an historic night and what still lies ahead:

  • I alluded to it earlier, but I could not be more proud of Mike Rizzo and the job he has done. Mike is truly the Executive of the Year in my book. But let’s remember that this ballclub was not built in the last 12 months. Mike arrived in D.C. in the summer of 2006 as our first hire and has poured his soul into the job. And the results show.
  • When thinking about Mike and the job he’s done, my mind naturally segues to the Gio Gonzalez trade and how well that has worked out. Throughout Spring Training, I told anyone who would listen that Gio was special. He had “it.” Now his name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue when it comes to Cy Young discussions. He’ll take another shot at his 20th win on Saturday afternoon against the Brewers. I know it means a lot to him and all Nats fans.
  • With a postseason berth now secure, everyone will rightfully turn their focus to the Braves and the NL East crown. As important as that is, don’t lose sight of the race for the best record in MLB. Remember, whoever posts the best record in the NL gets home field advantage during the seven-game NLCS. Think about how special that would be for our city, our team and our fans.

Please enjoy the last two regular season homestands and the pennant race. Come out to Nationals Park during the next few weeks to support the boys. They deserve it, and every game matters right now.

What to Watch For: 9/20

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Los Angeles Dodgers (77-72) vs. Washington Nationals (90-58)

LHP Chris Capuano (11-10, 3.60) vs. LHP Ross Detwiler (9-6, 3.16)

The Nationals and Dodgers split their doubleheader yesterday with the Nats snagging the opener, 3-1, but falling despite a big, late rally, 7-6 in the nightcap. Southpaws Ross Detwiler and Chris Capuano will decide the rubber match this evening as the Nationals need just one more win to clinch their first-ever postseason spot.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Werth RF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Detwiler LHP

FOLLOW THIS…

The Nationals are only the fifth team in modern MLB history (1901-present) to post three consecutive seasons winning 10 or more games than the year prior.

Note, however, that they are the first team in over 100 years to do so without the benefit of a deflated win total associated with a work stoppage. If you apply the Twins winning percentage in 1981 and the Marlins winning percentage in 1994 to a now-standard 162-game season, they would not come close to qualifying for this list.

TEAM                         1901             1902             1903             1904

Chicago Cubs            53-86            68-69            82-56            93-60

TEAM                              1906              1907             1908             1909

Boston Red Sox             49-105            59-90            75-79            88-63

TEAM                                 1981               1982              1983             1984

Minnesota Twins            41-68*            60-102            70-92            81-81

TEAM                             1994               1995             1996             1997

Florida Marlins            51-64*            67-76            80-82            92-70

TEAM                                           2009             2010             2011             2012

Washington Nationals            59-103            69-93            80-81            90-58**

*Season affected by work stoppage

**Season not complete

WE LOVE THE 90s

While the Nationals reached the 90-win plateau for the first time in 79 years on Wednesday, this is the ninth 90-win campaign recorded by a DC baseball team. From 1913-33, the AL Nationals posted eight separate 90-win seasons: 1933 (99 wins), 1925 (96), 1930 (94), 1932 (93), 1931 (92), 1924 (92), 1912 (91), 1913 (90), 2012 (90). This is the franchise’s fifth 90-win campaign: the Expos won 90+ in 1979 (95 victories), 1993 (94), 1987 (91) and 1980 (90).

FALL BALL

Coming off his last start on Friday in Atlanta, Ross Detwiler takes to the hill for the Nationals tonight. He went pitch-for-pitch with Kris Medlen, allowing one run on seven hits in 6.0 innings while walking one and fanning five batters along the way. “The National Det” is 5-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 13 career starts in September/October during career.

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