Through the first 35 games of the season the Washington Nationals have posted a 22-13 (.629) record and enter Tuesday’s action in first place in the NL East.
Have they just gotten off to a hot start or is this team going to stick around to be in the conversation come October?
Manager Davey Johnson has done a great job with this team’s nearly three decades after leading the Mets to World Championship.
No rotation in MLB has performed better from top to bottom than the Nationals’ unit to this point of the season. Overall, they have the best team ERA in baseball with a 2.27 mark.
Stephen Strasburg and newcomer Gio Gonzalez each are allowing less than two earned runs per nine innings while Jordan Zimmerman (2.14 ERA), Ross Detwiler (2.75), and Edwin Jackson (3.71) have also shown flashes of brilliance.
Like many other parts of the team, the bullpen has been hurt by injuries as Drew Storen and Brad Lidge have both made their way to the DL. Henry Rodriguez has shown signs of being able to close out games in their absence, but he’s blown three of his save opportunities.
The team has managed to find its way to first place without the benefit of having outfielder Michael Morse all season. Right fielder Jayson Werth is expected to be out until July after recently being put on the DL. Catcher Wilson Ramos suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Third basemen Ryan Zimmerman has returned from his stint on the DL and he’ll be counted to help breathe life into a struggling offense. Veteran first basemen Adam LaRoche is enjoying a bit of a resurgence and 19-year old phenom Bryce Harper has been called upon to help the team win now.
Final Take: The Nats are ninth in the NL in batting average and 12th in runs scored. Those numbers will need to improve if they are going to hold onto their lead. If they can keep their pitching going at this level until the All-Star break they could get a big lift with Morse and Werth returning to lineup and may even look to add a bat via trade before the deadline. With the Phillies struggling badly, the NL East is up for grabs and Washington is going to be a factor in the race for the duration of the season.
Fantasy Baseball, MLB