The Nationals’ clinching of the National League East on Monday night was both a culmination and a beginning. They stood on top of their division for the first time. What matters most comes next. When asked his reaction to the scene unfolding around him afterward, Jayson Werth said, “We got a long way to go.”
They still do not know where they’ll start, and Monday night offered no clarification. The Reds lost to the Cardinals, 4-2, which dropped the Nationals’ magic number to clinch the best record in the National League to two with two games to play. Both the Reds and Nationals are 96-64, tied for the best record in the league.
If the Nationals finish ahead of the Reds, they will start their division series Sunday against the winner of the one-game wild-card playoff between the Braves and either the Cardinals or Dodgers. If the Reds win, then the Nationals would start the playoffs Saturday in San Francisco against the Giants. The Nationals know they have a long way to go, and the next two days will determine where they start.