MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Werth intent on keeping Nats' playoff hopes alive

Outfielder homers twice in 12-2 win over Phillies

Werth intent on keeping Nats' playoff hopes alive

PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth is the unofficial captain of the Nationals. Manager Matt Williams called him a veteran player who has been through the wars of a pennant race.

Regardless of where he hits in the lineup -- whether it's hitting leadoff or hitting in the four hole like he did Wednesday's 12-2 win over the Phillies, Werth has the ability to drive the ball and knock in a run.

Werth was back in his old stomping grounds where he was a World Series hero. He hit two home runs in the victory. After the game, Werth sounded like a different person than the one who sounded defeated on Monday. Werth believes the Nationals have a chance to catch the Mets in the National League East. Washington trails New York by 7 1/2 games with 17 games to play.

Statcast: Werth's mammoth blast

You can believe this: Werth told his teammates that a miracle can happen. Werth should know. He was on the 2007 Phillies, who were seven games back with 17 to play and managed to overtake the Mets to win the NL East.

"We need to win all these games," Werth said. "Pretty much the rest of the way, we are in a must-win situation. It's good to get these games. I feel good. I feel confident, but a lot has to happen, so we need to win every night."

Werth has picked the right time to get hot. In his last 17 games, Werth is 23-for-71 [.324] with seven home runs and 16 RBIs.

"I love him hitting behind me. I'll tell you that," teammate Bryce Harper said." He knows how to get on base. I'll score whenever I can for him. He is one of my best friends. He is like a brother to me."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.