by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — In each of his weekly appearances with the Sports Junkies, Nationals manager Matt Williams has been asked to identify one player who “must deliver” for the team to win.

This week, with the Nationals failing to extend their NL East division lead on the Braves, who have lost seven straight, Williams’ response was unique to all others, saying, “You know, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say all of ’em.”

“We gotta go, fellas,” he said. “It’s time to go.”

“It’s go time,” show host Jason Bishop said.

“Yea, it’s go time,” Williams agreed. “So hopefully they all get really hot for the next road trip and we can have a good one.”

That’s an innocuous reply at any earlier point in the season, but with 51 games to play, and team leaders like Jayson Werth predicting after last night’s 6-1 loss to the Mets the Nats are about to “go on a run,” without putting words in the manager’s mouth, it sounds like Williams is anxiously awaiting his club to put some distance between them and the rest of the NL East pack.

And the timing couldn’t be more right.

The Nationals’ next eight games are all against divisional opponents: two more against the Mets, three in Atlanta, then three more against the Mets in New York, respectively.

If the Nationals truly wish to put 2013 in the rearview for good, and make the 2014 season something all its own by securing the organization’s second division championship in three seasons, then the time is now.

It’s go time.


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