- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay quip
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
Twenty games over .500, Nationals now tied for MLB’s best record
Washington batters Milwaukee 8-2
Question of the Day
MILWAUKEE — The number 20 doesn’t mean much on its own. The Washington Nationals’ outlook as the best team in the National League didn’t really change when they flipped the page from 19 games over .500 to 20 with an authoritative 8-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night at Miller Park.
Their playoff fortunes are not sealed, their goals for the season are not complete, despite matching the New York Yankees at 59-39 for the best record in the major leagues.
Twenty is a round number, though. A unique number. And manager Davey Johnson — who wears No. 5 — often says he likes to count in fives. In issuing the Brewers a good old-fashioned beatdown, the Nationals did what no Washington team has since the 1945 Senators finished the season 87-67: moved to 20 games over .500.
It might be a mark to celebrate, especially for those who lived through some of the darkest days of an organization whose brief history is filled with them. But for these Nationals, for this talented and winning incarnation, it is merely a nice benchmark on the way to something greater.
“We need to continue to build on it,” said first baseman Adam LaRoche, his 19th home run of the season leading off the second inning the kickstart to another offensive outburst that helped support seven scoreless innings from Edwin Jackson.
“I don’t think anybody in here is satisfied being 20 games up,” he added. “If you’d have asked us in spring training, I think we’d have said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take it.’ But now that we’re there I think we want some more. Time to get greedy and pile it on.”
These Nationals don’t appear to have much time for the undignified history of their predecessors. They do not revel in mentions that their 59 wins are as many as the 2008 and 2009 squads won all season. Ancient history. A different time and a different team.
Instead of collapsing last weekend when the Atlanta Braves sent two haymakers their way at the start of a pivotal four-game series between the division leaders, these Nationals have not wavered. They’ve reeled off six straight victories.
“We’ve got a lot of work [ahead],” Johnson said. “I said this in August of last year: We have the talent here, the makeup. If we just play up to our abilities, we’ll be fine. We can win a pennant.”
With their eyes squarely on separating themselves further from their competition, the Nationals are in a fortunate position.
A starting rotation that has been superb from Opening Day has been exceptional the last seven games, working to a 1.13 ERA in that stretch.
An offense that sputtered early with its main pieces either banged up or missing has found an extra gear in July. Even with shortstop Ian Desmond missing the majority of the team’s games in the second half, the Nationals have scored 117 runs in 22 games this month.
“Can’t reiterate enough when you have an offensive explosion like we had it definitely motivates you to want to come out and pump the strike zone, and let the defense play behind you,” Jackson said, his performance epitomizing that philosophy as he worked into and out of trouble for much of the night but made big pitches when he needed to.
And 42 of their final 64 games will be against teams that currently have below .500 records, including the next three they’ll play in this four-game set with the Brewers.
“In a lot of games this year we’ve laid it on them early and then let off,” LaRoche said. “We’ve had a lot of teams down, as far as individual games go, and just kind of not stepped on their neck. We’re letting them up. Luckily we’ve won a ton of those games, but it’s important now that yeah, we’re 20 games over. We’ve got some momentum going now. Keep it going and keep putting runs up there.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson: Gays 'wont inherit the kingdom of God'
- John McCain to Harry Reid: Ill kick the crap out of you
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Nobody likes to talk about dying. But we can help.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow