A team loses its established closer.

It doesn't acquire anyone to replace him and instead uses pitchers it already has in the closer's role.

The team finishes with the best record in the majors.

Impossible, you say?

This scenario hasn't happened since . . . last year.

At the outset of last season, the Washington Nationals lost their closer, right-hander Drew Storen, to elbow surgery.

Without acquiring a closer, the Nationals won 98 games, most in the majors. After Storen returned in midseason, he saved only four of those games.

With the Tigers entering this season without an established closer, it's interesting to hear what Washington pitching coach Steve McCatty had to say recently about how the Nationals thrived last season without Storen.

Storen had to be shut down in spring training. He had surgery in mid-April. McCatty said at that point the Nationals had three right-handed relievers they thought could be a closer: Henry Rodriguez, Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard.

"We knew we had three guys," McCatty said. "We knew we had other viable options. We thought we had the guys who could do it."