MLB

Woeful August dims Nationals' chances of reaching postseason

Sep 12, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) before the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 12, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) before the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals' chances of catching their New York Mets in the National League East continue to grow dimmer by the day.

The Nationals' latest setback, an 8-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, capped a rough August in which they went 12-17 - their worst month of the season. Conversely, the Mets went 20-8 in August and hold a 6 1/2-game division lead over Washington.

"You can't do anything about today now unless we want to sit here and pout about it," Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "But that's not gonna do us any good. You move on to tomorrow."

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Washington does have six games left against the Mets, including a three-game series at home next week, so it has an opportunity to chop into the sizable deficit.

However, the Nationals will be bucking history in their attempt to overhaul the Mets. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two teams have come back from 6 1/2 games out in September to win a division title since 1969 - the New York Yankees in 1978 and Seattle Mariners in 1995.

"Everybody understands where we're at and what's in front of us," Washington manager Matt Williams told reporters after his team squandered a two-run seventh-inning lead Monday night.

Even though the Nationals face only two teams with winning records the rest of the way, New York also has an easy schedule with 22 of its final 31 games coming against opponents with sub-.500 records.

(h/t Washington Nationals)