Nationals Magic Number provides daily updates as the Washington Nationals try to win their division. Today’s magic number for the Nats to clinch the N.L. East: 2
What else is 2: That’s how many Nats players with injured thumbs have had to run the bases wearing protective hand padding—let’s be real, these things are oven mitts. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman started wearing one after he returned from a broken thumb in June. Later that month, when left fielder Bryce Harper returned from a thumb injury of his own, Harper began donning an oven mitt, too. (As he told the media: “We’re gonna go bake.”) In the first game in which both Zimmerman and Harper sported the cooking appendages, they both scored on a tie-breaking, three-run double, then emphatically celebrated with their oven mitts in the air.
What happened yesterday: The Nats beat the second-place Braves in Atlanta, shutting them out for eight innings and then barely holding on in the ninth.
What’s happening today: If the Nats win against the Braves tonight in Atlanta, they win the division. The game starts at 7:10 p.m. A win tonight could make the Nats the first team in baseball to clinch their division; the Baltimore Orioles, who’ll be playing at the same time, can also clinch tonight if they win.