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

20 Comments

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.

The Pirates are, not surprisingly, leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen

Getty Images
1 Comment

Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.

Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.

All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:

That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.