The Washington Nationals won 98 games and made the postseason in 2012. They had a young core of talented players and were expected to be good for years to come, especially in 2013.
There was controversy surrounding the decision to shut down the young ace Stephen Strasburg at 159 innings, mainly because he wasn’t able to pitch in the postseason.
The argument was that you never know when you will make the playoffs again, so you should have all of your bullets when you trying to win a playoff series.
Well, those people looked completely on point last year. They finished with 86 wins in 13′, not enough to qualify for the playoffs.
That was last year though.
Right now, they are rolling. They have won 10 of their past 13 games, including taking 3 of 4 from the best team in the National League, the San Francisco Giants, and they have finally overtaken the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East, with a 35-30 record.
It hasn’t been all smiles and high fives for this team this season though.
They have dealt with injuries non-stop, even now while they’re hot, but they are just a resilient team that just seems to keep winning.
Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche have both spent time on the Disabled List, and now they are without the services of Bryce Harper (expected back by early July), Gio Gonzalez, and most recently Wilson Ramos (15-day DL).
LaRoche is having a pretty good season, even with the limited time. He’s currently batting .310, which would be his highest average since the 09′ season, and Ryan Zimmerman missed time due to his right thumb, but he is back now playing well also.
Zimmerman has even taken on the role of playing Left Field so third baseman Anthony Rendon‘s bat can stay in the lineup. To me, that is the sign of a true professional and team player.
Shortstop Ian Desmond‘s production seems to be grow more and more every year, and this season is no different, as he leads the team with 42 RBI’s.
Their pitching rotation is top of the line, just like we all expected with names like Gonzalez, Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann. And with the new addition of Doug Fister, who hasn’t lost a start since an awful outing on May 9th against the Oakland Athletics, their rotation is even better than it was in 2012.
Gonzalez is currently on the DL with left shoulder inflammation, and he made a rehab start for Single-A Potomac and didn’t go well, and that’s just being generous. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings, gave up 7 hits, issued 4 walks and gave up 8 runs, including 4 on a grand slam.
After the game, Gonzalez said his shoulder felt good, and that’s all that really matters when major league players are making rehab starts. The results really mean nothing.
Strasburg is 2nd in the NL with 108 strikeouts, and has won 3 consecutive starts. The main thing with Strasburg has been run support. As long as the offense puts up runs like they have been doing, this team can go very far.
All indications are that Gonzalez’ and Harper’s rehabs are going well.
This team is talented without those two. Add those two and the NL East coud be in the palm of their hands by July.