Odds in their favor

I'm not sure whether the following piece of information will please readers or make you guys want to slam down your laptop screens and run away.

So I guess I'll issue a quick warning: if you're the superstitious type, if you're the type to get annoyed by some positive news about your baseball team's chances of making the postseason, you might want to stop reading now.

Just take a little break from the blog. Go catch up on some world news or check out some home decor tips for a bit and then make it back here to MASNsports.com later on this afternoon, once we're back at Nationals Park and lineups have been posted for tonight's game against the Pirates.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here's this: according to Fangraphs, the Nationals currently have a 98 percent chance of making the postseason and a 96 percent chance of winning the National League East.

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.

This, of course, doesn't guarantee the Nats anything. These are just odds, after all. If the Nats end up not making the postseason, I will accept no blame for their failures down the stretch. Odds are called odds for a reason.

But this obviously bodes well for the chances of playoff baseball in the Nation's Capital this fall.

The Nats currently have a six-game lead over the Braves, their largest of the season. Atlanta is down to 61-60 on the season, just a game over .500 and just a game above the Marlins.

Fangraphs gives the Braves a 3 percent chance of winning the division, the Marlins a 0.9 percent chance, and the Mets the final 0.1 percent.

There's hope in Flushing.

We're getting to the part of the season now where playoff percentages and division margins start to really become significant. Six weeks remain. 43 games have yet to be played on the Nats' schedule. Slightly more than one-quarter of the regular season is left.

clippard-looking-at-catcher-side-white-sidebar.jpg"This is the point in the season where you want to pull away and you want to separate yourself and continue to win ballgames," Tyler Clippard said. "As a ball club, as a whole, we probably feel like we should be about 10 games up. But we're not. Six is good. We're pretty happy with that. We still feel like we've got some more baseball in us to try and separate that gap even more."

The Braves will now have three games against the Athletics, who have come back down to earth a bit recently but still own the best record in baseball. The Nats will start a 10-game homestand against Pittsburgh, with two struggling NL West teams thereafter, the Diamondbacks and Giants.

The Nats might be in good shape at this point, but they know they still have lots of work left to do.

"We've seen in recent years it doesn't mean anything," Matt Williams said of the six-game edge.. "All it means is that we got to work harder and take care of our games and play well. That's our objective."

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