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Can Nationals make the playoffs?

Remember a few days ago, when the National League playoff picture was all but set -- at least in terms of which five teams would vie for the pennant? Not anymore. The Washington Nationals are soaring, winners of 10 of 11 after their valiant two-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves a day after tragedy struck the nation's capital. The team still sits 4.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the race for the second wild-card spot. But with the kind of talent on the Nats, would it be that surprising if the final 11 games delivered joy to D.C.?

What chance do the Nationals have of making the playoffs?

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    10%
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    57%
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    33%

Discuss (Total votes: 137,684)

  • How surprising is the Nationals' turnaround from below-.500 to outside playoff contender?

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      30%
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      54%
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      16%

    Discuss (Total votes: 33,613)

  • If they made the playoffs, how far would the Nationals go?

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      57%
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      25%
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      9%
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      9%

    Discuss (Total votes: 5,929)

  • Which player is more important to the Nationals' success?

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      64%
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      36%

    Discuss (Total votes: 23,813)

  • How will the Nationals fare in 2014?

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      23%
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      54%
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      23%

    Discuss (Total votes: 5,757)

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The word of the day is "Natitude." The buzz around the Washington Nationals was at a fever pitch as their two phenoms -- Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg -- delivered in a big way Monday against the Marlins. Harper became the youngest player in the live-ball era to hit two home runs on Opening Day, while Strasburg gave up a leadoff single then sat down the next 19 Marlins in a row. Which young star impressed you more? Cast your votes!


No clownin' around

Bryce Harper is "on pace" for 324 home runs. He'll probably cool down considerably from that, but the 20-year-old is still primed for a big season.

SportsNation

How many home runs will Bryce Harper hit in 2013?

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    21%
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    56%
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    16%
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    7%

Discuss (Total votes: 54,796)


Dynamic duo

The Nationals won 2-0 on Opening Day, with Bryce Harper providing the offense and Stephen Strasburg handling most of the pitching.

SportsNation

Which Nationals player had the more impressive performance on Opening Day?

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    45%
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    55%

Discuss (Total votes: 97,112)

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The Nationals said they would shut down right-hander Stephen Strasburg for the season once he reached about 160 innings. They made good on their word Saturday, ending Strasburg's season a day after he allowed five runs in a three-inning start against the Marlins. Washington maintained all along they would protect their 24-year-old in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, even as the first-place Nats closed in on the playoffs. But manager Davey Johnson said the mental side of the impending shutdown was affecting Strasburg the most. Did the Nationals make the right decision?

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