August 11, 2009
Let's forget for a minute that the Nationals are still playing .357 baseball, just lost one of their promising young arms to a major injury and have just under a week to come up with beaucoup bucks to sign Strasburg.
Yes, put all of those sad stories aside and break out your Curly Ws, because they've actually played themselves into this thing!
By "thing", I'm talking, of course, about the oh-so-exciting race to not be the worst team in baseball.
I know, I know ... please try to contain yourselves.
For most of the season's first four months, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that not only would the Nationals be MLB's absolute pits, they might actually challenge the marks of the '62 Mets and '03 Tigers while doing so.
But now they've won eight straight games heading into tonight's contest against Atlanta and they're no longer far and away the worst team in the league. Yahoo! Sports' own Tim Brown doesn't even rank them last anymore.
Of course, this is all thanks to the Royals (43-68), who now lead the Nationals (40-72) by a slim margin of 3.5 games. The Kings of Kauffman have been anything but, going 25-57 since their 18-11 start and compiling a dismal 6-17 mark since the All-Star break.
There's no doubt the Royals been simply atrocious (just ask Zack Greinke or the scores of Royals fans again searching a thesaurus for alternatives to "apathy") and it's quite possible that they and not the Nationals could win the possible Bryce Harper Derby.
Even better, the Royals could be in the position to draft another failed Nationals pick if things don't work out with Strasburg before Aug. 17 (just as Washington didn't with Aaron Crow last season, paving the way for this year's drafting by Kansas City).
Of course, there's still a lot of baseball to be lost and it's worth noting that the Padres, Orioles, Pirates and maybe even the Reds could bumble their way into this race.
But at this point on Aug. 11, which team do you think ends up on the bottom?