Nationals play role in stretch run, sweeping Mets Print
Written by Admin   
Thursday, 27 September 2007 09:41
MLB Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Nationals are getting a sense of what it feels like to play in late-season, pressure-filled baseball games.
And they're thriving.
Now, truth be told, the pressure isn't exactly on the Nationals as they close the season against two of the NL's top teams.
After all, the Nationals are not the ones in danger of a history-making collapse to lose a division title - the New York Mets are. And the Nationals are not the ones trying to avoid yet another close-but-no-cigar finish - the Philadelphia Phillies are.
``When you play these teams,'' Washington outfielder Austin Kearns said, ``you realize what it takes to be a playoff-caliber team.''
No one knows how long it will be until the Nationals truly are of that caliber. Still, in many ways, rookie manager Manny Acta's team awoke Thursday prepared to declare its season a success.
By completing a stunning sweep of the NL East-leading Mets on Wednesday night, the Nationals improved to 72-87, eclipsing last year's victory total and assuring themselves of finishing no worse than tied for fourth in the division.
``We accomplished some things that we wanted to do,'' Acta said. ``First of all, we wanted to win more than 71 games - that's been accomplished. And we're still in a very good position not (to finish) last. That's what it's all about for us right now.''
After their day off Thursday, the Nationals end the season with a three-game series starting Friday at Philadelphia, which has been closing in on New York for two weeks.
Asked by a MASN-TV reporter how the Nationals would follow up their three-for-three performance against the Mets this week, outfielder Ryan Church responded: ``Sweep the Phils.''
Church contributed a homer, a double and four RBIs in Washington's 9-6 comeback victory Wednesday. The Nationals trailed 5-0.
``That says a lot about this team, and the direction that we're going,'' Church said. ``We've got the right nucleus around here. ... It just shows you that we care.''
Plenty of teams are content to roll over by the end of a lost season, knowing that the playoffs are out of the question and perhaps figuring that there's little difference between finishing last or next-to-last.
But Acta has been pushing the message that he wants to try to win every game, no matter what the stakes appear to be, and that it would be significant to put an end to the franchise's run of three consecutive last-place finishes.
``We are going to continue to play hard all year,'' said right-hander Jason Bergmann, 4-0 over his past five starts after beating the Mets on Tuesday.
First baseman Dmitry Young foresees a tangible benefit to edging the Florida Marlins for fourth in the NL East.
He's sure players around the majors are taking notice of what his team is doing - and by playing the Mets and Phillies tough down the stretch, the Nationals could persuade a free agent or two that Washington would be a good place to go.
``When they look at our team, they're going to be like, 'All right, they projected these guys to win 35, 40 games. This is a fourth-place team with a payroll this low,''' Young said. ``Trying to get key guys to place the pieces of the puzzle together - the way we finish, it's going to help.''
---
AP Sports Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report.
 

MLB Team Pages

Top MLB Public Bets

#1 925 Seattle Mariners 93%
#2 930 Oakland Athletics 92%
#3 918 Baltimore Orioles 91%
#4 913 San Francisco Giants 91%
#5 912 St Louis Cardinals 89%
#6 916 New York Yankees 88%
#7 920 Tampa Bay Rays 82%
#8 905 Washington Nationals 82%
#9 901 Los Angeles Dodgers 82%
#10 904 Pittsburgh Pirates 80%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

MLB Futures

MLB TEAM WORLD SERIES ODDS CURRENT
LOS ANGELES ANGELS 5/1
LOS ANGELES DODGERS 11/2
DETROIT TIGERS 6/1
WASHINGTON NATIONALS 6/1
BALTIMORE ORIOLES 7/1
ST LOUIS CARDINALS 9/1
OAKLAND ATHLETICS 10/1
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS 11/1
KANSAS CITY ROYALS 18/1
PITTSBURGH PIRATES 22/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com