The Nats took 2 of 3 from the D-backs, which is probably what they should do. This included their 4th straight one-run game which might get you worried about things breaking against the Nats soon, but their one-run record (23-16) isn't crazy given how good they are, so there's nothing here. They remain 4.5 games ahead of the Braves who took 2 of 3 from the Mets. Why do I have a hard time seeing the Braves take the pennant ahead of the Nats despite how well they've played? Because of things like last night. Give the Braves a hardship and they'll fight against it, give the Braves an opportunity and they'll fight against that too.
Next up is the Giants. The Nats miss Matt Cain, but Vogelsong, Bumgarner, and a revitalized Lincecum are nothing to sneeze at. If the Nats were to lose a series the rest of this month, this is the one. Every team needs a slip up here and there so I'll say the Nats only win 1 and lose a game in the standings.
Some notes :
The Nats offense has been pretty good, but let's not think this is a team that can win a blow out game. Their winning percentage in games where the other team scores 6+ runs is .176 - about average in the majors. Their winning percentage in games where the other team scores 2 or fewer runs is .872, good but not fantastic. What the Nats secret to winning then? They have only given up 6+ runs 17 times this year, 6 games fewer than any other team. They have held the opponent to 2 runs or less 47 times, 5 games more than any other team. It's the pitching. It's the pitching. It's the pitching.
Not that the offense hasn't been pretty good, like I just said. They are averaging 4.9 runs a game in August, good enough for 4th in the NL. Who's #3? Pittsburgh, 5.0. #2? The Braves, 5.1. #1? The Giants, 6.4! Why is SF so high? Well, why did the Nats look like world beaters for a few weeks there when you saw "In the last X weeks the Nats have scored Y runs" blurbs. A nice trip to Colorado. So now the hottest offense in the NL takes on one of the hotter pitching staffs in the league (what - I told you Nats=pitching). Something has to give I guess.