Washington opened a four-game weekend series against the charging Brewers on Friday. After that comes a three-game series on the road with the Phillies, also making a late run at the Wild Card spot.
Washington then takes on defending World Series champion St. Louis on the road for three games after that. Entering Friday, the Cardinals were holding down the NL's second wild-card spot, being chased primarily by Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
The Nationals then end the regular season with a three-game home series against the Phillies.
Not having an easy time at the end doesn't bother manager Davey Johnson at all. In fact, he kind of likes it.
"We test ourselves every day," Johnson said. "It seems that everybody we're playing has a shot to get it in the playoffs. We're going to get their best foot forward. That's fine with me. My guys feel the same way. Come after us. We're going to be after them."