The Nationals are Suddenly a Wild Card Contender, Too, and Other Bullets

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The Nationals are Suddenly a Wild Card Contender, Too, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

washington nationals logoSo, as I mentioned yesterday, my computer crapped out in the middle of the morning. Thankfully, I was able to get a new and get up and running before anything around here was too badly impacted. But, behind the scenes, man, it’s always such an adjustment when you have to change things. Not only did I have a world of preferences built into the computer – years worth of settings, scaling, shortcuts, etc. – but there are also a number of things inherent in the old computer that I won’t be able to duplicate in the new one. It’s all a bit of a new learning curve. For example, this morning’s EBS (Giants/Braves, just for fun) took me three or four times as long to create than I’d been used to. Everything was just a tiny bit different.

/blogger probs

  • I knew the Mets – still trailing the Cubs and the Giants in the Wild Card race – had a soft schedule the rest of the way, but this underscores just how soft:

  • The Giants have it especially tough in the coming weeks, and the Cubs’ unbalanced schedule (i.e., heavy on an NL Central with two great teams on top) makes their road tougher than the Mets, too. Also notable: the Mets, with their win last night, passed the Nationals for first place in the NL East. I still suspect it’ll be the Mets battling for a Wild Card spot when all is said and done, but this is why the Nats bear following, too. They are currently three games behind the Cubs (the Mets are two games behind the Cubs), but have a quality roster and an easy schedule.
  • Incidentally, the Giants – now three games behind the Dodgers in the NL West – like the Mets had a divisional incentive to make more robust upgrades at the deadline than the Cubs. Just one more reason to hate the Cardinals.
  • It sounds like Jon Lester is willing to pitch on Thursday (moving up his start from Saturday) because of his short outing last night (Tribune). In the end, it probably doesn’t matter too much, since Lester would pitch during the Giants series either way, and is not likely to net an extra start out of that kind of move by the end of the year. But I suppose it’s nice to have the option so the Cubs can line things up thereafter how they would most prefer.
  • Also, Lester thinks it’s good that the team is young and doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about a playoff race (CSN). They’re not quite an underdog, but the Cubs are far from being expected to make a deep run.
  • After his head-first slide scare on Sunday, Kris Bryant is rethinking his approach on the basepaths – not his aggression, but the way he slides (CSN). I understand why players slide head first, but it sure does seem to result in more injuries than feet-first slides. I know that’s not an earth-shattering revelation, but there is a calculus there – it would be safer to walk to first base on groundballs, but that wouldn’t get you many infield hits. You have to weigh the upside of better baseball play against the downside risk of injury. I’m sure there’s an intern somewhere running data and doing calculations.
  • Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight baseball everywhere:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.