Anthony Rendon fires up Nats playoff bandwagon

Chris Lingebach
August 02, 2018 - 5:59 pm

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This 2018 season has tested the faith of some of the Nationals' most devoted fans.

But even at five games back after the break, the fact remains the Nats still have 55 games, or a third of the season, to catch the Braves and Phillies in the NL East. As a matter of fact, they've already begun their climb. Only a week ago, the Nats were seven games back, and were able to inch that much close after winning five of their last seven games.

Imagine if they're able to steal their next two series, over their next eight games at home against the Reds and the Braves, respectively.

The Nats don't need the magic of the 2007 Rockies, who won 14 of their last 15 games (including a 163rd play-in game) to come from 6.5 back. They just need a little sprinkle of it.

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Whatever uneasy feeling you may have as a fan, you can rest assured it hasn't permeated into Washington's clubhouse.

"You're five games back. You gained a half-game yesterday," Grant Paulsen said to Anthony Rendon on Thursday. "Two months left. You give yourself a decent chance here?"

"More than a decent," Rendon said.

"Where's the confidence come from that you can turn it on and really get hot," Paulsen followed up.

"I don't know. I just think we know that we haven't played up to our full potential and our guys are finally coming together," Rendon said. "We finally have a full lineup stacked with one another and everyone's back to relatively 100 percent healthy. So we're gonna get on that bandwagon and we're gonna roll with it. We've been there before, so we know what it takes to get to the playoffs and we'll make that push."

Rendon says it's a great feeling knowing they have the full confidence of ownership – Mark Lerner wrote a letter to fans explaining why they're not throwing in the towel: "I believe in this team." – and of their general manager, who could have looked at the standings and decided to sell off the club part by part at the trade deadline. 

"It feels great. And at the same time, it feels good to know that we're all on the same page," Rendon said. "None of us in the clubhouse, obviously none of us in the organization, are thinking that we're just gonna fold or thinking that we're not going to make the playoffs. We're gonna still push. We have two months left."

"A lot of people are panicking," he added. "But as baseball players, we don't panic."

When reminded Washington isn't normally in this position, of having to come from behind in the final months to win the division, a smiling Rendon simply said, "Yeah. It's fun."

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