An easy June schedule and the promotion of Stephen Strasburg had Nationals fans believing Washington would enter the All-Star break still in the wild-card race.
Instead, the Nationals went 8-19 in June, including a 1-14 record against the Astros, Indians, Tigers, White Sox and Orioles.
One reason for the collapse has been the Nats' awful defense -- which leads the majors with 69 errors entering Thursday night's game.
And the problems have come right up the middle. At the positions of second base, shortstop and center field, Washington has committed the most errors in the majors.
Ian Desmond has the lowest fielding percentage (.943) among shortstops and has made 19 errors this season.
Center fielder Nyjer Morgan also has the worst fielding percentage (.974) at his position and has made five errors in the outfield.
It would be much easier to overlook their fielding blunders if Desmond and Morgan were hitting well, but they're not.
Desmond had a strong start to the season, but he batted just .222 with six RBI in June.
And Morgan, the Nats leadoff hitter most of the year, has a .314 on-base percentage and has been caught stealing a major league leading 11 times.
Defense wins championships. Well, it also helps keep a team out of last place in the division.