It’s been a bit of a nightmare season in 2013 for the Washington Nationals, but even with that, there doesn’t seem to be any quit in that outfit.
The Nationals finished off a 4-game sweep of the division rival New York Mets on Thursday with a 7-2 victory, and they did so on the back of an unlikely source on the mound. Rookie Tanner Roark, in just the 2nd start of his career, pulsed Washington with 6 innings of 2-run ball to move to 6-0 on the season, and he was tremendous against an admittedly somber Mets lineup. Roark allowed 6 hits over the 6 innings, but he was extremely economical with only 78 pitches, and provided Washington fans with some increased hope for the future.
As far as the lineup was concerned, it was the “old guard” that led the way. Third baseman and former “face of the franchise” (at least before Strasburg and Harper arrived) Ryan Zimmerman began the scoring with a 2-run home run off of Aaron Harang in the 1st inning and finished with a 2-for-4 day. Adam Laroche was also tremendous, posting a 2-for-4 day that included a double and 2 runs scored for the Nats.
Obviously, Washington is still in a bit of a dicey position with a 77-69 record, but with this sweep, they’ve stayed very much alive in the playoff hunt. It is a longshot, but the Nats trail the Reds by just 5.5 games for the 2nd Wild Card spot at the time of this writing, and if they can continue this hot streak, it isn’t unthinkable that they could catch them (just ask the Braves or Red Sox from 2011). It’s been tough to be positive in the Nation’s capital this season, but there is a glimmer of hope after this week.