PHILADELPHIA - After that ridiculous homestand, the Nationals are in pretty good shape with 33 games left on their schedule.
They are 21 games over .500 on the season, and hold the best record in the National League.
They have an eight-game lead over the Braves in the NL East, the largest division advantage in baseball. Their largest margin at any point during 2012 was 8 1/2 games, so they aren’t too far off from matching that mark.
They’ve won 12 of 13, with yesterday’s win over the Giants giving them yet another ridiculous comeback victory to smile about. The Nats trailed 5-0 after three innings and didn’t have a hit to that point. Then they pounded out 18 hits over their next five innings, scored 14 runs, and won 14-6.
The manner in which the Nats won yesterday’s game was impressive, given they were facing a tough starting pitcher (Ryan Vogelsong) and a Giants team with the third-best bullpen in the majors.
But the contributions came from everyone yesterday, as they have throughout much of these last two weeks.
Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Asdrubal Cabrera all had two hits yesterday. Jose Lobaton, who has done a great job behind the plate this season and has slowly been coming around offensively, notched three hits, drew a walk and had an RBI.
Scott Hairston delivered a big pinch-hit double during the six-run barrage in the sixth-inning. Danny Espinosa went 2-for-2 with a pinch-hit single and a laser of a two-run homer. The home run came from the left side of the plate, no less.
Craig Stammen worked two innings in relief of Stephen Strasburg and was able to keep the game close, allowing the Nats a shot to come back. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano allowed just one total baserunner over three scoreless innings.
This wasn’t a homestand where two or three players caught fire and carried the Nats. Everyone contributed, giving this team a feeling that any one player can be the difference-maker in a given night.
Now it’s off for a nine-game road trip which features stops in Philadelphia, Seattle and Los Angeles.
After this trip, we will have a much better picture of where things stand with this ballclub. Should the Nats retain their eight-game lead (or close to it), they’ll be in tremendous shape returning home with just 24 games left in the regular season.