So here's where I, in my role as a soulless automaton covering the Nationals, tell you the fight means nothing. Good teams get into fights. Bad teams get into fights. Average teams get into fights. I'm not going to begrudge the beat guys if they try to milk it for all it's worth (you try to come up with original and interesting angles 130 games into a season) but any talk about "this shows what kind of team this is!" is a non-starter with me. Winning is the product of talent with a good dash of luck on top. Compare winning and losing teams and that's where the differences will lie. Attitude, chemistry, grace under pressure, etc. is mostly a side show, meant to make us feel that we can overcome gaps in talent and luck by sheer force of will, when 999 times out of 1000 we can't. All this fight shows is the Cubs pushed the right macho buttons on the Nats and the Nats responded.
Were the Cubs right to jump on the Nats for still going all out? No way. A 7-2 lead in the 5th is not a given. I do think it's silly to compare this game to the blown 9-0 lead versus the Braves. The Braves are good, the Cubs are terrible. The Nats have the playoffs and division pretty much sewn up and don't NEED the win. The Nats have only given up more than 5 runs in a game, let alone the last 5 innings of one, 3 times in the past 20 games* so a 7-2 lead for the Nats isn't the same as a 7-2 lead for other teams. But even with all that being said, 5 run lead in the 5th? That's not the time to ease off. And even if you don't NEED the win, you still want it, for home field advantage, and for the same reason you wanted all those wins before. No. You keep pounding a team when they are down until they are out. That's the lesson you want drilled into your team as they head into the do or die playoffs where one loss can mean everything.
The Marlins are next and the Nats get one more AAA pitcher in Jacob Turner before facing a real major leaguer again. Tonight is more importantly Strasburg's last home game. Enjoy it and this next week or so, because everything after that last game in Shea will be analyzed as post-Strasburg.
*Pitching, pitching, pitching!