It may not have come in the way that they expected it would, but the Washington Nationals will take the NL East crown any way they can get it.
On Monday, the Nationals clinched first place in their division for the first time since their arrival from Montreal thanks to a little assist from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even though they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0, a 2-1 loss by the Atlanta Braves (to Pittsburgh) sealed Washington's title anyway.
As you would expect, players weren’t particularly bummed about the manner in which they took the division.
“The way it happened tonight doesn’t really matter,” Ryan Zimmerman said (via the Boston Herald). “We put ourselves in that position to have the luxury of having the other team have to play perfect baseball. We played a great 159, 160 games to get to that point, and we should be commended for that.”
He’s right, of course.
While the Nationals’ success thus far has made for a great story – the team can’t get too comfortable yet. This is cool, but it’s not what you ultimately play the game for.
This is just the beginning. The real season will begin soon enough.
For now, though...