CORRECTION: The Nationals are actually 3.5 games behind Atlanta. A previous version of this post said five games.
It wasn't so long ago that the Nationals were in the cellar of the N.L. East, looking up to the Marlins and Mets of all people. so far this month they are as hot as any team in Baseball, and they find themselves just 8.5 games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies. But even more importantly, and possible for that matter, they are just three and a half games behind the Atlanta Braves who currently hold the Wild Card spot in the National League.
The Nationals find themselves in an interesting position, because nobody expected them to be in the race this season. It might change their approach as the trade deadline nears. They probably figured to be sellers this year, but if they are still within striking distance of the Wild Card, maybe that changes their approach? Or maybe it is one in the same. Maybe they'll ditch pieces like Pudge Rodriguez for help at positions that don't currently enjoy quite as much depth.
We'll be following the Nationals' place in the standings in this stream all season long.