Back in this August 15 post, I speculated that the Nats would need to go 27-18 in their last 45 games to reach 89 wins and have a shot at the playoffs. With 9 games left, we have gone 16-20, which is 6 games behind the pace we needed (i.e. a 27-18 pace over 36 games is a record of 22-14). Had we kept pace, we'd be 1 game ahead of the Astros right now for the wild card, and 1 game behind the Braves for the division.
The question is: Which 6 games are the difference? Can we find 6 games that could have very easily gone the other way? Here's my list:
(1) Losing to the Padres 8-5 on Sept. 17 -- No comment necessary
(2) Losing to the Giants 4-3 on Sept. 20 -- Livan can't go the distance.
(3) Losing to the Mets 1-0 on August 18 -- This killed our momentum out of the Phillies series.
(4) Losing to the Braves 9-7 on Sept. 11 -- True, this was an unexpected comeback, but with 2 outs, you have to put that one away.
(5) Losing to the Padres 2-1 on Sept. 18 -- Once we lost the lead, I was convinced we'd lose, but this was a winnable game.
(6) Losing to the Mets 9-8 on August 19 -- Given the Mets' September collapse, we should not have let them wriggle out of this one.
That's it for me. I can't find anymore "bad" losses than that. The 2 losses agains the Reds are inexcusable, but I didn't think we were in those games, or deserved to win them. There were a couple of lucky wins, too, the 8-6 comeback over the Braves and the blown save against the Phils that we won in extras 5-4.
In this sense, it's hard for me to be too disappointed. Sure these games could have gone the other way, but it's not obvious that that should have been the result. We certainly didn't play like a playoff team down the stretch, and, as a result, we aren't one.