By Sarah Mackson

It’s September 11, and the Nats are sitting pretty at 79-64, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs for the first wild card playoff spot:

Playoff chances (via 93 percent

Playoff clinching magic number: 16

Patrick Corbin (above) is every bit the ace that Mike Rizzo envisioned when signing him last offseason. Over his last 15 starts, he has a 2.29 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 31 walks in 94 1/3 innings. He has never faced the Twins, but will take the bump on Thursday with what could be a chance to take the rubber game or complete the sweep.

Since August 10, the Twins and Nats are tied for the fourth-best record in baseball (18-9). It’s worth noting that both teams peaked early in that stat, with the Nats nursing a 5-5 record in their last 10 games (including two losing series), and the Twins are not much better at 6-4.

“We just feel a little bit down. But we still have a chance…we’ve got to keep it going.” Juan Soto summed up the team’s last week succinctly. Facing a tough stretch of teams over .500, the Nats have proven to be not quite the juggernaut that they appeared to be vs. sub.-500 teams in August.


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