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Sorting It Out

Scenarios abound entering the afternoon, and I'm trying to make sense of all the magic and tragic numbers. The Phillies are playing for first place. The Nats are playing for (or maybe not for) the first overall pick.

Here's the breakdown, first up top.

* The Phillies (90-70) are now two games up on the Mets (88-72) in the NL East with two to play. New York is facing Florida this afternoon, starting Johan Santana on three days' rest. The Mets are one game back of Milwaukee (89-71) in the wild-card race, and the Phillies can do no worse than play a tiebreaker - come Monday - for a spot in the postseason.

* Philadelphia's magic number is one. In other words, if they win either of their last two games, or if New York loses either of its last two games, the Phillies win the division.

* According to, if the Mets and Phils tie for the division lead at season's end and both are guaranteed a playoff berth, the Mets would win the division title and Philly would take the wild-card spot. That's because the Mets own an 11-7 head-to-head edge.

* If you're interested in some of the more in-depth scenarios, check out this Web site.

Now, the Nats.

Washington and Seattle, the two teams still in contention for baseball's worst record, are separated by a half game due to the rainout Thursday at Nats Park that won't be made up. The teams' records entering today:

Washington - 59-100
Seattle - 59-101

So, it's pretty straightforward...

* If Seattle loses both of its final games, it gets the No. 1 pick.

* If Seattle wins one and Washington loses both, the Nats get the No. 1 pick.

* If Seattle wins both and Washington loses even once, the Nats get the No. 1 pick.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 27, 2008; 12:43 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Exit Notes From A Loud Night In Philly
Next: This afternoon's lineups


It would seem fitting for the Nats to miss the first round pick by a half game due to the rain out...

Posted by: formerly section 519 | September 27, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Go Nats! (play with integrity, as always)

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 27, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Andruw Jones would have clinched the division AND the 1st overall pick by now.

Posted by: ntr Boz | September 27, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

From the previous thread:
On the Acta announcement - My bet is Corrales "retires", Harris is given a minor-league re-assignment and both Tolman & Aponte are gone.
In regards to the situation at 1B - I hope this is where the Nats' FO focus is. Either go after a power hitter with a decent (.330+) OBP & glove on a short contract via trade and still have Johnson &/or Young as a bat off the bench or replacement, or roll the dice on Teixeira in FA.

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 12:45 PM

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

At this point, #1 versus #2 in next year's draft doesn't matter. Nobody (not even Strasburg) is going to step into the Majors immediately & be the difference-maker. It's a sorry state of affairs that led the Nationals to looking at another top-three pick, yet here we are.
Let's just hope the FO is focused on building a team that is both competitive & is able to gather fan interest for 2009 & beyond.

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Also, having a radio contract with decent coverage (inside & outside the beltway) and a stable TV assignment (MASN2?) couldn't hurt. 1500am on the radio just doesn't get it in PW County, and I miss hearing Charlie & Dave.

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody at the WaPo wake up the Web Administrators & get them to load the Baseball Insider connection to replace "Crowd Noise", please?

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on the lousy 1500 signal, BIM (and VA, not MD, here).

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 27, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

BIM said PW County, which is also in VA. Never mind. I think that I need some more coffee...

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 27, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman was a top 5 pick (actually #5?) and made it to the majors the same year (as it turns out not for a cup of coffee like Detwiler) he was drafted. IF the Nats get Strasburg there is every reason to believe he could be in DC by September and perhaps in the rotation. A lot of baseball remains before the draft and signing and performance in the pros always uncertain, but based on what we know thus far there is every reason to expect him to be a star, and be ready very fast.

Posted by: estuartj | September 27, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

BIM, you are mistaken about Strasburg. He is a "game changer." The best college pitcher since Mark Prior should mean something, especially since David Price has been really good in his callup this year. Strasburg is better than Price, according to the majority of the people who have seen both pitch.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | September 27, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

1a: It's after Noon & you're still drinking coffee?

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Don't sneeze at Grant Green. Strasburg is a pitcher, and a lot can happen over the next year.

On a different topic, the perpetual "what were they thinking when the resigned Dmitri and went into the year with him and Nick coming off an injury?", our answer probably starts with the #10 prospect in the Carolina League. BA's projection for Marrero at the start of the year had him in the majors by mid-2009, IIRC. I'm on the road so do not have my BA 100 prospect list or the 2009 Baseball Prospectus. It's not talked about much, but the Nats plan (the Plan) was to have Marrero take over first after a transition year or two with the two question marks. Their insurance was Aaron Boone. It was a gamble to go with two health question marks, but sometimes you lose to the flush when you have pocket Kings. Nick's latest injury was not related to his original owie, so there was not a bad call on the leg. On Dmitri, not selling high in 2007 was the big error.

As we look with envy at the Rays, remember that Carlos Pena was jsut as available as Dmitri in the 2006 - 2007 offseason,and Eric Hinske was as available as Aaron Boone this past off-season. Begs the question: when you roll the dice on a player, do you go with the guy in his late twenties instead of the guy in his mid 30s? If you are building, don't you hope the guy you bring in may help you more than a year?

Posted by: PTBNL | September 27, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

estuart, AStebbins: The point I was trying to make was that the race to Strasburg (or whoever is the #1 flavor in next years' draft) won't singlehandedly change the shape & face of the 2009 Washington Nationals; 2010 and beyond, well that's for better minds than mine.
R. Zimmerman in 2005 was a smart pick who worked out perfectly; he signed early, rose quickly & is now "the Face of the Franchise". BTW - wish him a Happy Birthday tomorrow, as he turns 24.
On the other hand, Strasburg (under the control of the devil encarnate), will neither be 1) easy to sign, or 2) of immediate impact, since he will likely lose 2 months of "game-ready" conditioning while negotiating a contract, then spend a month (minimum) in the minors before getting a September call-up. Hence, no immediate impact.

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@PTBNL: Great post! The leg injury may have set him back a bit, but the future @1B could be bright under either Marrero or Whitesell.

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Who represented '08 #1 pick Beckam? I think Boras is smart enough to know Strasburg will be best served by getting a ML deal and a clear shot to the majors, yes he'll ask (and get) 10+mil, but the real money will come from being a FA in 5-6 years, being a 27 yo star pitcher in the coming FA market will likely be a 300+mil deal. Too bad Crow's people we too dumb to realize this and Crow is now still over 6 years from being a free agent.

Posted by: estuartj | September 27, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

BTW: Lineups posted on - Be ready for new post.

Posted by: BIM | September 27, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

eh, it's not a weeknight...

1a: It's after Noon & you're still drinking coffee?

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 27, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

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