With Friday's loss to the Chicago White Sox, the Nationals' record dropped to 31-37, putting them nine games behind the streaking Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They're also 7 1/2 games out of the NL wild card race, and with games coming up against the Braves, not to mention a trio of postseason contenders in the Mets, Padres and Giants, the Nationals' playoff hopes are in danger of dying before the All-Star break.
Already, they're in a critical state. Baseball Prospectus' updated postseason odds, which are calculated by simulating the rest of the season a million times from today's date, give the Nationals less than a two percent chance of reaching the playoffs. They have an 0.8 percent chance of winning the division, and an 0.64 percent chance of a wild-card berth.
Of course, that's based on expectations of the present team through the rest of the season, and expectations can be defied at any time. The Colorado Rockies were 20-32 last year, and rallied for a 92-70 finish. But it's always dangerous to view those rare surges as precedent; it took the Rockies playing .655 ball the rest of the season to win the wild card.
What the odds mean at this point is that the Nationals will need an unexpected surge to get themselves back in the race. And it probably needs to start soon.