Nats return for most important homestand of season

The Nationals have gotten their season back on the rails during the last couple weeks. But the stretch to the All-Star break is essential, starting with the most important homestand of the season this week.

Step again far sufficient to get a broader view of the six-month schedule and the swings of a baseball season turn into simpler to foretell.

The Washington Nationals have struggled towards good groups, however haven’t made up for these failures towards weak competitors sufficient to make the difference. Coming into the final stretch of games earlier than the All-Star break, they have been introduced with a huge alternative.

Now begins probably the most essential stretch of this slate. The Arizona Diamondbacks have slithered their method above .500, giving the Nats 10 straight residence video games towards quality competition, including the prospect to make up floor in again-to-again collection towards the 2 teams with the perfect probability to beat them for the NL East crown.

Getting into Thursday’s recreation towards surging Arizona, the Nats have simply 14 wins towards teams over .500 (14-20 general). No group in the Nationwide League has fewer. What might shock you is that they’ve performed the fewest such video games. Every other staff has played a minimum of 36 video games towards profitable groups, ranging all the best way up to 49 such games. That workforce on the prime? The Arizona Diamondbacks.

Following these 4 video games towards the Diamondbacks, Washington will get the Phillies for 4 and the Braves for three. Thus far, the Nats are simply 15-15 in the division. They’ve taken the one two video games they’ve played towards Atlanta, whereas splitting the eight with Philly to date. After that, they play the underside-feeding Marlins six occasions and the hopeless Tigers and Royals three every heading into the break.

The Nats have one other three-collection homestand in July, and play what might be a make-or-break seven games towards Philly and Cleveland to close the common season at residence. However they gained’t get another probability like this — the two teams they are chasing, collectively, again-to-again, amid a stretch of in any other case putrid opponents.

Lately, the Nats have lastly begun to do what good teams are presupposed to do — they’ve crushed the dangerous teams in entrance of them. Following the nadir in New York — the 4-recreation sweep in Flushing that left them 19-31 — they’ve gone 12-5 towards middling-to-dangerous groups. In a traditional yr, over the course of 162 games, that’s typically enough to get you to the playoffs. However the Nationals didn’t begin the yr doing that.

They’re still simply 17-16 towards teams .500 or worse, putting that much more strain on the divisional head-to-head matchups remaining. For Washington to get back to .500 on the break, they’ll have to…

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