The apprehension that once surrounded Jayson Werth has been swallowed whole by possibility. Back in the spring the Washington Nationals may have worried about the condition of his left wrist the natural aging process and the possibility his contract would become unbearable. As summer cedes to fall Werth could win a batting title land in the top five of an MVP vote or maybe even put a scare into the Cincinnati Reds. Did you think he would be a liability? It turns out he may be the best hitter in the National League.

On Tuesday night Werth lifted the Nationals to a 6-3 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field that fit into his past two months like a puzzle piece. Werth went 3 for 4 with two doubles and his 23rd home run. The Nationals’ fourth straight victory pushed them to a season-high six games over .500 at 75-69. After the Reds lost to the Chicago Cubs the Nationals shaved their deficit in the race for the NL’s second wild-card spot to six games with 18 to play. Their postseason odds are on life support but they aren’t dead after all.

Werth received help from a stable of teammates. Jordan Zimmermann claimed his league-leading 17th win with five uneven innings. Four Nationals relievers pitched scoreless innings culminating with Rafael Soriano’s 40th save of the season. Wilson Ramos’s cannon arm wiped out two base stealers in the nip-and-tuck late innings. Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a double down the first base line Adam LaRoche smacked his 19th homer to left-center field and Scott Hairston put the game on ice with a two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth.

But it was Werth with a continuation of his blistering second half who led them. Werth entered Tuesday leading the NL in on-base-plus slugging percentage and slugging percentage and trailing Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson by five points in the batting race. Werth raised his batting average to .328 and since the all-star break he has hit .370 with an OPS near 1.100. There are many reasons the Nationals have won 21 of 30 games and the first is their woolly 34-year-old right fielder.