82 wins are nice, but there’s still work to do

The Nationals were certainly pleased to win 2-1 over the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

And getting to 82 victories for the first time since arriving in D.C., and guaranteeing a winning season, is a nice milestone.

But there are no banners waving or confetti falling from the ceiling.

No balloons or noise makers.

C’mon, 82 wins! Celebration time, right?

Not quite.

Veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche, who hit home run No. 25 for the Nationals’ first run, said getting to 82 victories is certainly nice, but the Nationals are focused on the pennant.

“It is the furthest thing from our goal, although it comes with the ultimate goal, which is to get into the playoffs,” LaRoche said when asked about the Nats guaranteeing themselves a winning campaign. “Good to know, this point in the season, with this many games left, (it) is a pretty good sign.”

Closer Tyler Clippard notched save No. 30, joining Chad Cordero and Drew Storen as the only Nationals’ pitchers to reach that milestone. Clippard agrees, saying teh Nationals have no intention of stopping now.

“It is a step in the right direction, but our thought processes are different this year than they have ever been, and rightfully so,” Clippard said. “We have been playing great. We want to keep doing that. That would mean we would lose every game from here on out, that is not in our thought process right now.”

Manager Davey Johnson has seen this before and he is too far into this season to consider an above-.500 record as a big deal. He is worried about LaRoche’s back and Michael Morse’s thumb, among other players who are dealing with nagging injuries.

“I guess,” Johnson said when asked about the 82-win marker. “I wasn’t really concerned about that. Today was a tough day for us, we had a rough go with St. Louis and a warm day (today) and guys were kind of beat up.”

But winning pitcher Ross Detwiler said Monday was special because of the guys that were here from close to the start, like Ryan Zimmerman.

“I think that is huge for the city,” Detwiler said. “Obviously, we are not done yet. Somebody like Ryan Zimmerman, who has been here the whole time, and has been on losing teams year in and year out. We are actually now performing up to our standards, (so) I am happy for him.”

Zimmerman said 82 wins does not win you the National League East or clinch a playoff berth. But he knows where the franchise has been, so this is nice moment.

“We haven’t really done anything, but we are looking for bigger things,” Zimmerman said. “It is fun to be a part of and it makes all the stuff in the past kind of now even more sweeter because we have all been through that stuff.”

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