Who will Nats fans root for this October?

juan soto josh padres

It’s always tough for a fan base to see their favorite team miss out on the postseason.

For Nationals fans, this is the third straight year without playoff baseball in the District since the team won its first World Series championship back in 2019.

With that being the case, an important question must be asked: Who will Nats fans root for this October?

It’s not a simple question to answer if you’re going to continue being a baseball fan over the next month. Do you root for whole teams or just individual players? Do you root for league or divisional pride, or for anything but that?

The 2022 Major League Baseball postseason is set. In the first year of the new expanded format, six teams each from the American League and National League qualified (three division winners and three wild cards), with the top two seeds earning a first-round bye as the Wild Card Series starts this weekend.

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While creating their own playoff atmosphere, Nats want to play spoiler

Davey Martinez dugout red

The Nationals were never really in contention for the postseason this year. They were officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier this month, sealing their third straight season without playing in October since the 2019 World Series championship.

But they have been able to play a role in the upcoming postseason by playing against teams still fighting for a division crown or wild card spot.

Twenty-five of the Nationals’ last 31 games to end the season would have come against playoff-hopeful teams by the end of the three-game series against the Mets that starts at Citi Field tonight. Of those 25 games, 19 are going to be against National League East rivals.

The Braves and Mets have been locked in a close battle for the NL East title and the No. 2 seed in the National League, which includes a bye of the Wild Card Series. The team that finishes in second will host the three-game Wild Card Series starting Friday.

The Mets just suffered a three-game sweep in Atlanta at the hands of the Braves, relinquishing their once 10 1/2-game lead in the division. The Braves now have a two-game lead in the NL East and a magic number of one to clinch the division crown for the fifth straight year. That means any combination of a Braves win or a Nationals win this week would ensure a wild card spot for the Mets, who are still looking for their first division championship since 2015.

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Nats and Phillies postponed again, doubleheader rescheduled for Saturday

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We have to give them credit for trying, but the Nationals and Phillies will not be able to play tonight’s doubleheader nightcap.

The remnants of Hurricane Ian are moving into our area, so tonight’s game has been rescheduled to 7:05 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 1. All tickets for tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game will now be honored for tomorrow night’s game.

Tomorrow’s originally scheduled 1:05 p.m. game is still scheduled to be played at that time. But the Nats’ press release announcing the latest schedule change did include the phrase “at this time,” implying that game could be in jeopardy as well. 

This now means the two teams will, in fact, try to play a doubleheader on Saturday as was originally scheduled before the second game was moved to this afternoon, a game the Phillies won 5-1. The original doubleheader was scheduled for tomorrow to make up one of the two games lost between these teams when the first week of the regular season was canceled due to the offseason lockout.

For now, the Nats are planning on starting Aníbal Sánchez in Game 1 tomorrow and Tommy Romero in Game 2.

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A vote against expanding the postseason field

A vote against expanding the postseason field
Watching college football the last two weekends, I couldn't help but keep asking myself: Why does that sport still only allow four teams into its top-level playoff? How much better would it be if every major conference winner automatically qualified, plus two at-large teams and the highest-ranked team from one of the other conferences, making up an eight-team bracket? Which also got me thinking how baseball really does have its postseason system right at the moment. Ten of the sport's 30...
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How should we feel about former Nats in the postseason?

How should we feel about former Nats in the postseason?
The Nationals aren't participating in the 2021 postseason. And yet, everywhere you look, you find folks with Nationals connections that stir up all kinds of emotions inside you. Really, they're everywhere. There's Kyle Schwarber hitting Schwarbombs for the Red Sox. Lucas Giolito dealing for the White Sox. Dusty Baker managing the Astros. Mike Maddux coaching the Cardinals pitching staff. Blake Treinen coming out of the bullpen and Steven Souza Jr. coming off the bench for the Dodgers. And,...
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A modest proposal for a better postseason format

A modest proposal for a better postseason format
Among the pressing topics reportedly still being discussed between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association as the 2021 season inches ever closer is the possibility of keeping the playoff field expanded again. You'll recall that 16 teams made the postseason in 2020, six more than ever had before. It was an acknowledgment of the inability of a 60-game season to distinguish the best teams from the rest of the pack, and most folks accepted and understood why it was needed. But now...
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Ranking the Nats' 19 home playoff games, from best to worst

Ranking the Nats' 19 home playoff games, from best to worst
There's a postseason game being played tonight in Washington. Er, Landover. But you get the idea. Remarkably, this is only the fourth time the Washington Football Team is hosting a playoff game in the last three decades. It hasn't won a home playoff game since its 27-13 victory over the Lions in the 1999 NFC wild card contest. The Nationals, on the other hand, have hosted 19 postseason games since 2012. Yes, eight of those came in October 2019 alone, but even prior to the World Series run...
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After Dodgers eclipse Rays in World Series, what's next for baseball?

After Dodgers eclipse Rays in World Series, what's next for baseball?
The Los Angeles Dodgers and pitcher Clayton Kershaw are finally celebrating a World Series victory, the franchise's first since 1988, the year the Dodgers beat the Oakland Athletics. Dodgers infielder Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19 and is under investigation by Major League Baseball for joining teammates in the on-field celebration. How fitting is that for the coronavirus season? So what's next? There's always second-guessing, trade and free agent talk, and discussion about how...
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Rays are headed to World Series

Rays are headed to World Series
The American League East champion Tampa Bay Rays are headed to the World Series. They won the first three games of the AL Championship Series against Houston, but then lost the next three. But behind right-hander Charlie Morton, they won 4-2 in Game 7 last night to head to the World Series for the second time in team history. In 2008, they lost, four games to one, to Philadelphia. Now they will chase their first title against the winner of tonight's National League Championship Series Game 7...
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Would Astros reaching World Series punch Baker's ticket to Cooperstown?

Would Astros reaching World Series punch Baker's ticket to Cooperstown?
The Astros beat the Athletics 11-6 on Thursday in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, punching their ticket to a fourth consecutive AL Championship Series. And it brings Dusty Baker a step closer to a championship he has been eyeing for more than two decades as a manager. Baker has 1,862 career victories, 15th on the all-time list. He has been named Manager of the Year three times and won seven division titles. But the 70-year-old is searching for his first World Series title, the...
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Can rookie Marlins hurlers tame tough Braves lineup in NLDS?

Can rookie Marlins hurlers tame tough Braves lineup in NLDS?
Baseball teams are measured with an endless numbers, from traditional statistics to a new-age analytics such as Wins Above Replacement. The Miami Marlins have another set of numbers unique to the season of the pandemic: As the season started, they had 18 players test positive for the coronavirus and were quarantined for a week in Philadelphia. They used 61 players for 60 games, including pitchers manager Don Mattingly met for the first time as he brought them into a game. Olympic speed skater...
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Bullpens could decide Yankees-Rays clash in ALDS

Bullpens could decide Yankees-Rays clash in ALDS
The Tampa Bay Rays, who last won the American League East in 2010, beat the New York Yankees in eight of 10 games during the regular season. Can they do it again and get a chance to win their first AL pennant since losing to the Phillies in the 2008 World Series? The best-of-five Yankees-Rays AL Division Series will be played with no days off starting today in San Diego's Petco Park, one of the bubbles established by Major League Baseball for the postseason. The Rays and Yankees have tension,...
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Big moments just don't feel the same in empty ballparks

Big moments just don't feel the same in empty ballparks
Watching the various wild card series the last few days, I couldn't help but have two thoughts: There were some really compelling, tense, memorable moments in almost every series; and I constantly had to remind myself just how compelling, tense and memorable those moments were because the scene at each ballpark was completely sterile with no fans in attendance. It was tough enough to experience the 2020 regular season without fans, but this week really underscored just how noticeable it is in...
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Checking out the postseason storylines

Checking out the postseason storylines
The Marlins finished in last place in the National League East in 2018 with 95 losses and 2019 with 105 losses. In the first week of this season, they were quarantined in a Philadelphia hotel for a week after 20 positive coronavirus tests that disrupted their schedule, as well as schedules for other teams, and they needed 17 new players to compete, including former Orioles reliever Richard Bleier helping their bullpen. The Marlins, who tore down World Series title teams after championships in...
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New extra-innings rule brings varied wrinkles on first weekend of play

New extra-innings rule brings varied wrinkles on first weekend of play
Like it or not, baseball's experiment with an automatic runner affected four games of the first weekend of the 60-game 2020 season. And there were varied wrinkles. The first free runner in major league history was given second base in extra innings was the Angels' Shohei Ohtani, who made the last out of the ninth inning against the Athletics on Friday. But it didn't work out well. The Angels' Jared Walsh hit a grounder to Oakland first baseman Matt Olson, but Ohtani had was slow to break...
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MLB, players union roll the dice on expanded postseason for 2020

MLB, players union roll the dice on expanded postseason for 2020
Baseball's postseason will have a new NBA- and NHL-like wrinkle when October arrives, at least with the number of playoff teams. Baseball's wacky season will continue into a newly designed postseason. As the 60-game schedule began Thursday night in Washington, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement that six more teams will be added to the postseason. Originally, there were 10 teams. Now 16 teams have a chance to make the World Series. The NBA and NHL each...
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Which pre-2019 Nats team should have won the World Series?

Which pre-2019 Nats team should have won the World Series?
What's the best team in Nationals history? The one that actually won the World Series. Duh. But it's worth remembering the 2019 Nats only went 93-69 during the regular season. Four previous clubs won more games than that: the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017 clubs. Those four teams, of course, lost in the National League Division Series, often in agonizing fashion. And so they're forever viewed as underachievers. Here's the question, though: Were any of those teams good enough to win the World...
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What matters to you: More games or fewer changes?

What matters to you: More games or fewer changes?
I feel like I've already said this countless times over the last three weeks, but let's state it again for the record: As much as we all want to project when the baseball season (or any other sport's season) will begin, it's pointless right now. There's simply no way to know with any certainty when the world will be safe enough for sporting events and the mass gatherings they draw. That hasn't stopped a lot of folks from trying to figure this out. Some insist it can happen by June. Some...
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Nationals trivia quiz: Postseason

Nationals trivia quiz: Postseason
After clinching their first National League pennant in October, the Nationals had to wait six days before taking the field again for Game 1 of the World Series. Our break between re-watches of the NL Championship Series and World Series won't be that long, but we are going to take a couple of days off before diving back into the epic, seven-game showdown with the Astros. In the meantime, here's the second installment of Nats Trivia. (If you missed the first one last week, on the history of...
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MASN to rebroadcast every Nationals win from 2019 postseason

MASN to rebroadcast every Nationals win from 2019 postseason
If you want to re-watch the Nationals' dramatic run to their first World Series title on television, here's your chance. MASN will be broadcasting all 12 of the Nats' postseason victories, plus the championship parade, during the first two weeks of April. It all begins Thursday at 1 p.m., exactly when the Nationals were supposed to raise their banner before facing the Mets in their 2020 home opener. Instead, MASN will be showing the entire National League wild card game, capped by Juan...
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