The Washington Nationals’s winning streak ended Thursday night in Colorado. After two games. But when recent performance includes a six game losing streak that helped the team fall from first place, by 4 and a half games in their division, to trailing the Mets by four, then you take what you can get. With the loss last night putting an end to a 3-7 road trip, the Nats are plainly a team that is not hitting on all cylinders. They were thought to be contenders before the season began. And after a slow start, they seemed to pull things together but now ...
As Chelsea Janes writes in the Washington Post, you can
Blame what you want for the late-August urgency. Choose from injuries, underperformance and/or bad luck to explain why these Washington Nationals are trailing in the National League East. Whatever the reason — and there are many – the consequence is this: The Nationals need to rally in the season’s final six weeks to salvage a season whose early promise is still unfulfilled.
So how about this for a theory: The Nats are a Washington team, so perhaps their collapse is not so much a baseball phenomenon as a manifestation of the Washington habit of taking the month of August off. The president goes to the Vineyard to play golf. Members of congress head home to solicit votes and money. Everyone who can skips out of town and makes for the beach or the mountains. And the people who remain – including the ballplayers – just phone it in.
The Nats have a crucial – not to say do-or-die – home series with the Mets in early September. Maybe their heads will be back in town … and back in the game.