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Surging Nats Take Wind Out Of San Diego's Sails

[September 16th] -- With respect to Livan Hernandez, Chad Cordero and Jose Guillen, John Patterson is the future of the Washington Nationals. The lanky Texan pitched another complete game at Petco Park Friday night, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 6 while lowering his ERA to 2.65.

Patterson has gone from afterthought to ace in a single year. Livan Hernandez wins with smarts and guile; no one has ever suggested that he has great "stuff." His career ERA is in the high 3's, further indication that he wins by almost willing it to happen.

Just a few days ago, many fans, including me, had thrown in the towel and begged the Nationals management to play the team's "future talent" now so that the new ownership could get a better feel as to who can and who can't play at this level. This morning, Washington is 77-71, riding a five game winning streak and only 2 1/2 games out of the Wild Card lead.

Oops.

I still think it very unlikely that the Nationals can win the Wild Card because two of the teams ahead of them are in their division. But I do believe in moral victories, and watching our team fight for a playoff position going into the final week of the season is certainly a victory of sorts. Remember, most of us bloggers predicted back in March that Washington would win somewhere between 75 and 85 games, and we'd be very happy with that. Well, with 14 games left, the Nats need only split their remaining schedule to end the year with a 82-80 mark.

Not bad for a team that won 67 games just one year ago.


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