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The pitching hasn’t been as good as last year and the rotation has taken much more of an injury beating. Still, pitching is not the reason the Nats are facing a maybe-impossible climb. For much of the year, they couldn’t hit. Manager Davey Johnson earned some nationwide yuks recently when he cracked his guys couldn’t date porn stars because they can’t score. Somewhat funny and mostly true.

Since firing hitting coach Rick Eckstein and replacing him with Rick Schu in July, they’ve been noticeably better. They’ve hit .271 since July 21 after hitting .240 before that. Their on-base percentage is .336 as opposed to .300. They’re walking a little more, striking out a little less. Let’s not bruise Schu’s back by pounding it too hard. Some of the Nats were so bad they couldn’t help but get better, even with one of the Racing Presidents as their hitting coach. But the change has had a positive impact, there is no denying that.

Maybe it is too little, too late. Maybe the Nats are setting their fan base up for one more disappointment.

Or maybe not. Thanks to these New Nats of 2013, the last four weeks will at least be interesting and worth watching.