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On Monday night, the Washington Nationals and New York Mets start a three-game series in Washington, D. Joe Maddon Cubs Jersey .C. With nine games separating the NL East rivals in the standings, the division title seems all but out of reach for the Mets. But theres still a lot hanging in the balance -- for both clubs.Beat writers Eddie Matz and Adam Rubin explain.Matz:?Its always a big deal when the Nationals and Mets throw down. On the surface, given that Washington is nine games up on New York with 19 left to play, the three-game set that kicks off in D.C. on Monday might not seem as supersized as usual. Ah, but it is. Heres whats on the line for the Nationals:1. Figure out how to survive sans Strasburg. Star?Stephen Strasburg (elbow) may or may not be done for the season. If he is, the Nats need to find a replacement for him in the postseason rotation. Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark are no-brainers. After that, its anybodys guess. Gio Gonzalez has been eh. Joe Ross has been out since early July. Rookies Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and A.J. Cole have been filling in, but none of them has consistently wowed. How the pups perform down the stretch -- including Coles start against Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday -- could go a long way toward predicting how the Nats net out in October.2. Prove they can beat good teams. Despite their glossy 85-58 record (second best in the NL), the Nationals are just 15-20 against teams who are in line for playoff berths. Against everyone else, theyre 70-38, including 28-5 against division doormats Philly and Atlanta. Whether or not the surging Mets make the postseason remains to be seen, but this much we know: Theyre the only team Washington faces the rest of the way thats currently above the .500 mark. A series win over New York would help show that the Nats are more than just cupcake killers.3. Slam the door on the Mets. With three weeks left in the season, theres no earthly way that New York could possibly overtake Washington ... or is there? Given that this is the last series between the two teams, it seems highly unlikely. But lets say, just for the sake of argument, the Nats get swept. Suddenly its a six-game lead with 16 left to play. Stranger things have happened -- just ask the Mets. Back in 2007, they were seven games up on the Phillies with 17 games remaining and somehow managed to blow it. A couple curly Ws in D.C. this week, and Dusty Bakers club should have the division sewn up. If Washington can sweep the series and severely damage its archenemys wild-card chances in the process, well that wouldnt suck either.Rubin: The Mets will not catch the Nationals for first place in the National League East. Not with the Mets trailing the Nats by nine games with 19 remaining.So what is at stake when the teams open their final series of the season on Monday night at Nationals Park?A ton for the Mets.The Mets are 2-0 in games started by Rafael Montero in Jacob deGroms absence, but Montero has walked 10 batters in 9 1/3 innings in those pair of starts. Montero gets the opener in D.C. opposite Mat Latos, and the Mets desperately need Montero to harness his control and give them a shot at a win.These days, theres little margin for error with three teams vying for two wild-card spots.We know we can certainly play with them, manager Terry Collins said. Theyve got a little bit of pitching issues right now -- similar to us. Weve just got to go in there and play. For us, its about winning games. I dont care who theyre against. Weve just got to win games.As demonstrated by Saturdays extra-inning loss at Atlanta, when Collins didnt pinch run for Wilmer Flores in the eighth and the Mets ultimately lost to temporarily drop out of the second wild-card spot, the Mets have little wiggle room if they hope to return to the postseason.The Mets enter the showdown against the Nationals only a half-game up over the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot. The San Francisco Giants, who lead the wild-card standings, are within striking distance, too.The good news for the Mets: The schedule heavily favors them the rest of the way. After completing this series in Washington, the Mets do not face another team with a winning record the remainder of the season. The Mets host the Twins (53-90), Braves (55-88) and Phillies (63-80), then complete the season with a trip to Miami (71-72) and Philadelphia.Meanwhile, the Cardinals and Giants square off in a four-game series beginning Thursday in San Francisco -- building in losses for at least one of the teams. St. Louis also has a pair of series remaining with the NL Central-leading Cubs, while the Giants have a pair of series remaining with the NL West-leading Dodgers.I look at the scores every day and I see teams with losing records beating teams that have winning records, Collins cautioned. Its part of the game. So youve got to go out and play. Dexter Fowler Jersey . -- Matt Ryan needed one of the best games of his career to lead the Falcons and their depleted offence out of their three-game losing streak last week. Jason Heyward Cubs Jersey . -- Sergey Tolchinksy scored his second goal of the game 3:56 into overtime as the Sault Ste. http://www.cubsauthorityshop.com/Ryne-Sandberg-Jersey/ . -- In a span of seven Washington Redskins offensive plays, Justin Tuck sacked Robert Griffin III four times. In the days before television coverage was a given at almost every international match anywhere in the world, many controversial incidents which would now be endlessly replayed and analysed were hardly even commented upon. It took something rather special to grab the headlines.One such incident took place on the second day - a Sunday - of the first Test between West Indies and England at Port-of-Spain in February 1974.The day was drawing to an end and the crowd, which had seen a magnificent hundred from Alvin Kallicharran guide West Indies to 274 for 6 in reply to Englands disappointing 131, were drifting home as Kallicharran, unbeaten on 142, and Bernard Julien blocked out the closing overs.The last ball was bowled by Derek Underwood to Julien who gently played a forward-defensive push past Tony Greig, who was fielding in his usual position of silly point, almost close enough that he could reach out and touch the batsman.Everyone assumed that was that for the day ... except Greig. Alan Knott, Englands wicketkeeper, flicked the bails off and uprooted the stumps, Julien turned towards the pavilion, and Kallicharran, who had backed up two or three yards at the non-strikers end, carried on walking down the pitch. But Greig turned, picked up the ball, and noticing that Kallicharran was out of his ground, threw down the stumps at the bowlers end. Douglas Sang Hue, the umpire at that end, had not called time, and after a few moments hesitation, he gave Kallicharran out.There was initial confusion. Greig clapped his hands and loped towards the dressing-rooms, there was a muted acceptance from the players after Kallicharran looked at Sang Hue, who shrugged his shoulders as if to show that he had no choice but to give him out. But those in the crowd who realised what had happened began to boo fiercely. As the wickets total on the scoreboard clicked over to seven, the row escalated.The radio commentators were at the same time analysing what had happened, and they concluded that as Knott had removed the stumps at the strikers end, then play was over, whether Sang Hue had called time or not. This was enough for the scoreboard operators, who replaced the seven in the wickets column with a six. Most of the spectators left the ground believing that Kallicharran had been reinstated.It wasnt that simple. A meeting involving the two captains, Donald Carr (Englands tour manager), the umpires, and representatives of the West Indian board was hastily convened in the Port-of-Spain pavilion as police patrolled the ground in case of trouble (as it happens, a small fire was started under one of the stands).The players, meanwhile, had changedd, and Greig was driven back to his hotel by Garry Sobers, on the assumption that while the crowd might want Greigs blood, they would not touch him while he was with a legend like Sobers. Greg Maddux Cubs Jersey. There was no sign of tension between the two sets of players, either.At Queens Park Oval, however, the discussions were heated - but after more than two-and-a-half hours, common sense prevailed. Although Sang Hue stood by his decision, he was ultimately overruled but backed to the hilt for giving Kallicharran out.A hasty press conference was called and the assembled media were told that Mike Denness, Englands captain, and Carr had decided that in the interest of cricket as a whole, and the future of this tour in particular ... the appeal against the batsman be withdrawn. The statement also carried an apology from Greig, who in no way intended his instinctive actions to be contrary to the spirit of the game.What could have been a crisis was resolved by some sensible diplomacy and sound common sense. What is remarkable is that nobody came out of the whole episode badly, not even Greig. Some critics moaned that the reversal of the decision had been a result of mob rule, and fear that the crowds the next day - and throughout the series - might turn ugly. But with hindsight, reinstating Kallicharran was right given the circumstances. Sometimes it is all about the interpretation of the laws rather than the letter of them.The situation was further defused by the fact that the Monday was the scheduled rest day, and when play resumed on the Tuesday the matter had been discussed, dissected and done away with. Greig and Kallicharran publicly shook hands in the middle of the pitch before the resumption, and all was well.Kallicharran added only 16 more runs on the third morning, during which time he was dropped three times, all off the offspinner Pat Pocock, before holing out to him for 158. West Indies went on to win the match by seven wickets.As for Greig, it was not the last act of a highly controversial career, and not his last brush with the West Indies. By 1976 he had become Englands captain, and ahead of that summers home series against them, he uttered his infamous grovel jibe. The fallout from that lasted the whole tour.Is there an incident from the past you would like to know more about? E-mail us with your comments and suggestions.BibliographyTesting Time - Christopher Martin-Jenkins (Macdonald, 1974)My Story Tony Greig (Stanley Paul, 1980)The Cricketer April 1974Wisden Cricketers Almanack 1975 Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '