Up until Aug. 27, the Washington Nationals were able to lay claim to being the last team to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a series. A rematch of the 2016 National League Division Series saw Washington take two of three at Dodger Stadium from June 5-7.
The Nationals were poised to sweep the three-game series before the Dodgers rallied against Stephen Strasburg for two runs in the sixth inning. While both teams have been atop their respective divisions for much of this season, they’re trending in opposite directions at present time.
The Dodgers remain in first place in the NL West and still hold the best the record in baseball. On their heels are the Nationals, just four games back in the standings.
Ahead of a marquee series this weekend, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said his team remains focused on possibly catching the Dodgers, via Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post:
“We’re still trying to win as many games as we can because a month ago, people thought catching the Dodgers was an impossibility,” Baker said. “Now, we’re a lot closer than we were before. Plus, they’re coming in here for three days.”
By virtue of the Atlanta Braves defeating the Miami Marlins on Sunday, the Nationals officially clinched the NL East. The division title is their fourth in the past six seasons. Washington became the first team to secure a playoff berth this season.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ 10-game losing streak is tied for the longest in Los Angeles franchise history. They’re the first team to ever win 15 of 16 games and lose 15 of 16 in the same season.
Yet, still with a nine-game lead in the division, the Dodgers are on track to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive NL West title. If the current playoff picture holds true, the Dodgers and Nationals would not meet unless it were in the 2017 NL Championship Series.