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As season continues, standings start to stand out

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WASHINGTON -- All season, media and fans alike relentlessly dissect standings.

For instance, the Nationals tied the Braves for the lead in the National League East Saturday night, and legitimate excitement surrounded that development, as it should. However, it loses significance when put in context of the fact that more than 60 games still remain on the schedule.

Still, there is no question the constant fluctuation in standings is part of what makes baseball so interesting to follow. But when over the course of 162 games do players begin focusing on their position amongst division rivals, if at all?

"Usually around August," Denard Span said. "You start to kind of see who's going to be in and who's not going to be in it."

Right-hander Tanner Roark said he always keeps a watchful eye on the standings but never tries to get too caught up in them over the course of the season.

"We know [the standings] in the back of our minds," Roark said. "But we don't try to just focus on it all the time. We've got to play a game each and every day, day-in and day-out."

Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. He also can be found on Twitter @danielrpopper. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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