The news of today in baseball is that Stephen Strasburg will need Tommy John surgery and his season, along with most of 2011, is finished. The incredibly talented young pitcher will have a similar return time table as Braves starter Kris Medlen, who had the same surgery a few weeks ago. Even though the Nationals are no where near contention, this does slightly help the Braves.
Strasburg, while still a rookie pitcher with some flaws, has been incredible this season and is without a doubt the best starter on Washington's roster. The Braves have six games left against the Nationals and not having to face Strasburg in any of those contests certainly helps the Braves chances of winning those games.
The Phillies also play the Nationals six times so they likely would have seen Strasburg in one or more of those games. But the Braves are not only competing for the National League East crown, they are competing for the wild card as well.
No other legitimate playoff contender is playing the Nationals over that span, so both the Phillies and Braves are helped by this injury. As we have seen in the past decade, simply getting into the playoffs means much more than how you got in, whether it be via wildcard or as a division champion.