As the MLB season continues and we pass the 100-game mark, one question remains in the National League East: What teams will advance to the postseason? The Nationals currently sit in second place, 4.5 games behind the Braves and a game above the Phillies.
The Phillies and Braves start their three-game series on Friday, which will likely be a pivotal point of the season. The Braves dropped two games to the struggling Royals, which helped both the Phillies and Nationals drastically. The Nationals are currently tied with both the Cardinals and the Cubs for the two Wild Card spots, though one of those teams would win the NL Central if the season ended today.
The Nationals are 6-4 in their last 10 and 13-6 in the month of July. They were one of the hottest teams in June, with only eight losses. A big part of their recent success has been the red-hot Trea Turner. The Florida-born shortstop, who started his career in centerfield, hit for the cycle against the Rockies on Tuesday night. He’s currently hitting .286 with a .346 OBP. Turner has brought life back to a team that seemed to be doomed just three months back.
We all know how the offseason went for the Nationals, as they lost their ‘face of the league’ rightfielder Bryce Harper to the Phillies and were searching for a way to stay relevant in the NL East. But with third baseman Anthony Rendon, leftfielder Juan Soto, and Turner all over-performing, they find themselves right in the mix for a playoff spot.
With just under 60 games left to go in the MLB season, it’s sure to be an exciting end to a roller-coaster season. The Phillies are catching fire at the right time with a 7-3 record in the last 10, and the Braves remain at the top, where they’ve been for the majority of the season. The Phillies have finally received some help from their extremely underwhelming bullpen, and are looking to put up a good fight as we reach the end of July.
The NL East is currently one of the tightest divisions in baseball, and anything can happen in these next two months. It should be an exciting finish as Turner looks to keep his bat hot and lead the Nationals to their third playoff appearance in the past four seasons.
In just their 15th season as an organization in MLB, this would be their fifth postseason trip. Making the playoffs in a third of your seasons played is a pretty impressive number for a relatively new franchise.
Will the 2019 Nationals and Turner continue their recent success and bring the city of Washington their first World Series, or will it be back to the drawing board for the 2020 season?