Another 17 days will pass before the Washington Nationals know what exactly their recent dominance has accomplished. In the end it may stand as a testament to what could have been or the foundation of a late-fall dream. In the moment it serves to raise a weighty question: If the Nationals actually make October who would want to play them?

The Nationals’ latest show of force came Thursday afternoon in a 7-2 trouncing of the New York Mets at Citi Field. The schedule may be flimsy and their awakening may have been too late but the Nationals have become the hottest team in baseball. After a four-game sweep finished an 8-2 road trip the Nationals have won eight of nine 23 of 32 and a season-best six in a row.

“The team that goes into the playoffs playing hot playing good ball to me that’s usually the most dangerous team in any sport” said center fielder Denard Span who extended his hitting streak to 23 games with an eighth-inning double. “So if we can sneak in there I’m pretty sure some teams would probably be a little worried.”

The prospect remains a long shot. With 16 games to play the Nationals sliced the idle Cincinnati Reds’ lead to 51 / 2 games in the race for the NL’s second wild-card spot. They will head back to Washington for a 10-game homestand that includes seven games against the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins the kind of also-rans the Nationals have feasted on all month.

“If anything it makes it frustrating seeing what we’re doing now knowing what we didn’t do for the better part of four months” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “Now you’re starting to see what this team can do. I’ll never know what took us so long.”

The Nationals bashed 13 home runs over the four-game demolition compared to none for the Mets the most homers ever been hit by an opponent in a series at Citi Field. In Thursday’s soggy matinee Ryan Zimmerman Wilson Ramos LaRoche and Anthony Rendon all drilled solo homers. Zimmerman’s first-inning drive to left gave him eight homers in his past 10 games.

“We’re on fire right now” Ramos said.

The Nationals added 10 doubles in the series which continued a remarkable power stretch. After they belted seven more extra-base hits Thursday the Nationals have slugged .463 over their 32-game surge to contention. Over the course of a season that would rank somewhere between Matt Holliday and Justin Upton.