MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nationals bring pride, confidence into NLDS

Nationals bring pride, confidence into NLDS

WASHINGTON -- After they won the National League East title on Sept. 16, the Nationals didn't let up, going 9-3 until the regular season came to an end. They finished with the best record in the NL, earning them home-field advantage through the NL Championship Series, should they make it that far. They will face the Giants in the NL Division Series, beginning Friday at 3:07 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 at Nationals Park.

"It's pure joy knowing that all of these guys are pulling for the same thing," infielder Kevin Frandsen said. "I couldn't be more proud of the fact that our guys continued to play so hard and play for each other even after we clinched in Atlanta."

  Date Time Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   SF 3, WAS 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   SF 2, WAS 1 (18 inn.) video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   WAS 4, SF 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   SF 3, WAS 2 video

Even more amazing, the starting rotation -- Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark -- was dominant the last week of the season. Dating back to last Tuesday, and not including starts involving Blake Treinen and Taylor Hill, the rotation allowed a combined two runs in 37 1/3 innings, with 39 strikeouts and four walks.

"They are good pitchers. ... They have been throwing the ball well," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "At this point of the year, it's hard to ask them to be any better than they are."

The Nationals have to feel confident going into the NLDS.

"I've maintained the whole season that I like where we are," outfielder Jayson Werth said. "We are a second-half team. We are built for this time of the year. We continue to show it year in and year out that we are going to make a run at the end. We played well up to this point. We got this first step out of the way.

"You get to this part of the season, I think the main goal is to not be packing boxes and making plans to do something else. We took care of that, and now the fun begins."

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