Nationals clinch D.C.’s first playoff berth since 1933

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There will be October baseball in our nation’s capital for the first time in 79 years.

The Nationals beat the Dodgers 4-1 on Thursday to clinch a postseason berth. Not only will this mark the team’s first playoff appearance since moving to Washington in 2005, but it’s the franchise’s first playoff berth since the Expos lost the NLCS to the Dodgers in 1981. It’s also the first time the franchise has won 90 games since 1993.

Tonight’s winner was left-hander Ross Detwiler, who is slated to replace Stephen Strasburg in the postseason rotation. He allowed one run and three hits in six innings to move to 10-6 on the season. His 3.10 ERA is actually a bit lower than Strasburg’s 3.16 mark.

While the Nats are now guaranteed a spot in the postseason, managed Davey Johnson said the team wouldn’t celebrate tonight. They intend to save the champagne for if they can lock up the NL East. They’re currently 5 1/2 games ahead of the Braves.

For more on tonight’s win, head on over to CSNWashington.com.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.