Wild card update
With October play a possibility, Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Stadium would see playoff baseball for the first time ever. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Nationals were two and a half games back of the Houston Astros for the National League’s wild card spot. The Florida Marlins, who are only one game back, snapped the Nats’ three-game winning streak this week.
After the series with the Marlins, the Nationals will face their NL East rival Atlanta Braves Sept. 9-11 and the New York Mets in Queens, N.Y., Sept. 13-15.
Stuck on a feeling
With the National League wild card race at its pinnacle, the sentiment around R.F.K. Stadium is feeling more like it did in May, when the Washington Nationals were in first place. GW senior Jon Kolker, the Nationals’ home batboy, expressed the feeling in Southeast D.C.
“The feeling is incredible,” Kolker said in the dugout before Tuesday’s contest with the Florida Marlins. “The feeling is everywhere. You feel it on the field, in the dugout, in the clubhouse. You know we feel like the Nationals of the first half of the season. We are coming strong, watch out.”
Kolker said GW students have a responsibility to support the city’s newborn Nats during their first playoff run.
“We have to understand, as the GW community, that we have to support them,” he said. “Even if we aren’t at the game, we need to be thinking about the Nationals. That’s our duty as students.”
As a member of the Nationals’ staff, Kolker sees the players at their most candid.
“The feeling in the clubhouse is the way it should be now,” Kolker explained. “We are focused on baseball, no other outside distractions. We are here to win a game and that’s what we are going to do. This is a big week, this is the big six: Florida and Atlanta. If we hang in here and win these series, we are in the wild card race. We are up there. We’re running.”
Home sweet home
The Nationals have 15 games remaining at home, the most of the five teams vying for the NL wild card. The New York Mets have 13 at home, the Philadelphia Phillies have 12 at home, and the Houston Astros have 11 left at Minute Maid Park. The Florida Marlins have nine left in Miami.
After leaving the District, the Marlins will head to Philadelphia for three games followed by a trip to Houston to face the Astros for a four-game set.
Help on the way
The Nationals recalled RHP Travis Hughes and Darrell Rasner from the minor leagues. Rasner started on Tuesday against the Marlins, lasting two and two-thirds innings and giving up three runs. Hughes, a former member of the triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, has made two appearances with the Nats this season, lasting 4.2 scoreless innings.