At the quarter pole

Hello, East Coast. Nice to see you again.

It seems like we haven’t had an off-day at home in years. In reality, it’s been five weeks.

But still, nice to be home, get to sleep in your own bed and relax for a day.

The Nationals come back to the area with a 21-19 record, now trailing the Braves by 1 1/2 games in the National League East.

Not where they’d like to be, for sure. But yesterday’s big comeback win, their 12th come-from-behind victory of the season, gave them a series win on the road - which is always a positive thing - and allows them to head into the off-day with their spirits high.

“We needed this one,” manager Matt Williams said yesterday. “It salvages the road trip. Started off really bad for us (in Oakland), then we won the first one and it’s nice to get this one to go home on a positive note.”

We’re now essentially at the one-quarter mark of the season, 40 games in, and to this point, the Nats have yet to really hit their stride. It seems that every win is followed by a frustrating loss, leaving the team bobbing along, as Williams put it.

The consistency hasn’t been there, but still, the Nats continue to stay afloat despite a boatload of injuries.

See what I did there? Afloat? Boatload?

OK, we’ll move on.

“We’re playing all right,” Tyler Moore said. “Every win is a positive for us. A lot of injuries as everybody knows. Just trying to get those guys back and hang in there when we can.”

Ah yes, the injuries.

Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche remain on the disabled list, testing the organization’s overall depth. The Nats continue to lean on their bench players, with Moore coming through with a big two-run single yesterday, and Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa ripping solo homers in the ninth on Monday.

The Nats would love to be rattling off 5-1 road trips instead of pulling the positives out of 2-4 trips, but they haven’t quite hit that level yet. Williams says to get there, it starts with consistently strong starting pitching, with the offensive and defensive play ticking up a notch, as well.

Doug Fister showed Nats fans yesterday what he brings to the table, the bats came alive in the late innings, and the Nats ended the road trip with smiles on their faces. Now it’s time to keep those type of ballgames coming a handful of times a week.

“I think as a team, we’re playing well,” said Fister, after going seven strong innings in yesterday’s win. “We’ve hit a few ups and downs throughout the year so far. It builds character and keeps us strong and teaches us what we have and what we need to work on.

“I think it’s something that is going to be a good sign and a good thing for us late in the season.”

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