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Jayson Werth on 2016 Nationals: 'I feel like this is our chance'

Jayson Werth on 2016 Nationals: 'I feel like this is our chance'

Whether this is the best iteration of the Nationals is an interesting debate, but veteran outfielder Jayson Werth, for one, believes there is something different about this club.

They may have won less games during the regular season than both the 2012 (98 wins) and 2014 (96) clubs. They may have lost All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos for the season. All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg is out for the NL Division Series with a right flexor strain. Bryce Harper is on the field, but not playing like we all know he can.

There are reasons to believe the Nats aren't quite as good as they once were on paper. But Werth would argue they are well-suited for the playoffs this time around.

"We've been fortunate here to be in the hunt coming down the stretch, almost every season that I've been in Washington, going to the playoffs. It's the third time I've been in the playoffs," he said after Monday's win (Via

"I'm hoping this is our year. We're battle-tested, we're playoff-tested and we've got a good group of guys. We've been playing together a long time now. So, I feel like this is our opportunity."

[RELATED: Nats manager Baker on how he got the nickname 'Dusty']

Werth, 37, knows that he himself only has so much time left in the majors. The 2015 season, when the Nationals fell short of the playoffs and won just 83 games, was tough on him. He wants to win another World Series. He wants to win one in Washington.

"I think after last year, with the injuries, and the way it ended and, you know, I felt like it was just like an opportunity lost," he said.

"With getting [manager] Dusty [Baker] this year and the moves at the deadline… you don't always get opportunities. I feel like it got taken away last year, and obviously I can't play this game forever. So I feel like this is -- I feel like this is our chance and I also feel like maybe this is my last chance to do it."

Baker has made a difference, as Werth noted. So has health. But the team itself, Werth believes is designed to make a run at the World Series.

"I feel like we can slug with anybody. We have the type of lineup that has balance," he explained. "We have the pitching that can pitch and we have the bullpen that can shut people down like they have done the last couple games."

The bullpen has indeed stood out through three playoff games. They have allowed zero runs collectively with 14 strikeouts through 12 1/3 total innings.

Both 2012 and 2014 featured infamous bullpen meltdowns that cost them in the playoffs. So far, that has not been the case in 2016.

"I think it gives us confidence. We're always in a game," Werth said. "We're never out of it. Even when we're behind, we can tack on runs when we're ahead or we can get some runs when we're behind. I feel like the bullpen is going to hold up. And might not have been the case or the feeling in years past."

The Nationals have a chance on Tuesday night to do something they have never accomplished before: advance in the MLB playoffs. With a 2-1 series lead, they have two opportunities to get there.

*Transcripts via*

[RELATED: Nationals beat Dodgers to take 2-1 lead in NLDS]


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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 


The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.


The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.