- Could ZNN, Gio, Edwin or Wang pitch worse? Yeah. In fact I'd bet two do. But they aren't going to pitch THAT much worse. Even if all fall back to career averages that's still a good staff.
- Could the relief staff start pitching worse? Yes they can. Mainly because the IP is small enough that you can get some variability. But the arms are good and when you deal with 7-8 guys they can't all go bad at the same time.
- Could the offense completely collapse? I suppose - it's really being carried the past 2 weeks by Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, and hot batter of the day. A Harper slump alone would be pretty impactful. But it's never going to be worst in the league bad.
- Could they get unlucky? Sure - they've been a game or two lucky so far, but just a game or two. They aren't playing with fire like 2005, when they had a crazy 1-run game record and were losing all these blowouts. There's no big regression to come here.
- Could there be an injury? OK yeah - this could hurt the Nats a bunch. Bryce, Strasburg, Gio... But you can't worry about that.
With each series win they have to pitch and hit that much worse, they have to get that much more unlucky, to miss the playoffs. We're getting to the end of credible doubt as it is, where you can say the Nats missing the playoffs is a legitimately reasonable expectation. A few more weeks of play like this and the Nats missing the playoffs shifts over to the incredible. Of course the incredible does happen, ask the Red Sox last year, or the Mets teams of few years past, but like an injury you can't worry about that. All you can do is just stand there like you're watching a car crash (or flip side - like your lotto numbers are coming up. For someone to be losing out, someone must be unexpectedly winning in these incredible situations.)
If that seems crazy, to call a playoff spot in say... Mid July, thank not only the level that the Nats are playing at but the extra Wild Card, too. There's that much more cushion for the Nats to back in, if they need to and it makes a big difference. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's still another month of great play that's needed. You've waited 7 years. You can wait one more month.
*Though for funsises at this point in 2005 the Nats were 35-26, had just gone 8-0, and in the middle of a 23-5 stretch. 23 and 5! They'd be 50-31 when they were through. This Nats team would only need to go 12-8 to hit that spot and would almost certainly not completely die down the stretch like that team did. This team isn't adding Preston Wilson and Deivi Cruz and acting like that's enough. At the very least this team is getting back Jayson Werth and Drew Storen. Those are players whose presence won't actually hurt the team!