Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit his 25th homer of the season Wednesday in a 5-1 win over the Phillies, marking third time in his career he has it 25 or more homers in a season. He also hit 24 homers in 2007.
He is a part of a Nationals team that has the most wins in major league baseball and has won its division. He said that is all nice, but the ultimate goal is a world championship.
“It is quite an accomplishment,” Zimmerman said. “Winning the division was a goal and now we have done that. We have a chance to go do some stuff in the playoffs. This is a great season, great team and good group of guys. We accomplished a lot that we should be proud of, but we have a lot more to accomplish, hopefully.”
The Nationals will open Sunday in the division series on the road against the Braves or the Cardinals. Any preference in facing Atlanta or St. Louis?
“At the point we are at now, if we want to do what we want to do, we are going to have to beat good teams no matter what,” Zimmerman said. “This is where the good teams are. There is really not a weak team. Anyone we play we are going to have to play the best baseball to win and that is what we look forward to doing.
“Either way, it is nice to have home field,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “We go back to yesterday and talking about who we want to play, and I don’t think any of us (to a man), we really cared.
“They are all good ball clubs. Either way you look at it we are going to have to go through these guys at some point. It wasn’t a big issue on who or where we start.”
“It doesn’t matter (who we play),” said shortstop Ian Desmond. “I think all year long we have been taking it one day at a time. I don’t think it really matters who is on the other side of the field. It matters about how we play and that we control the game like we have been all year.”
Wednesday’s winning pitcher Edwin Jackson (10-11) was a part of a world championship team with St. Louis last season. Does this Nationals team have what it takes to win it all this season?
“We definitely have it,” Jackson said. “But, everybody who gets into the postseason has it. It is just a matter of who can bring it out and who can execute during the games at the time.”
And the team’s youngest player, 19-year old Bryce Harper, knows it will be a tough road in the postseason, facing hostile crowds and good teams.
“We know it is going to be loud and crazy,” Harper said. “Fans love their teams. Going into different environments, San (Francisco), St. Louis, Atlanta, New York, those are great environments to play in so it is going to be a lot of fun.”