Monday, June 6, 2016
On the Surging Nats, or When Even Gio Gonzalez is Playing Well...
Ever since they've come up as a legitimate threat in the NL, the Nationals have fallen into an 'every-other-season' groove. Like, they're amazing in 2012, they lose to the Braves in 2013, they're amazing in 2014, they lose to the Mets in 2015. What they needed in 2016 was finality- just a decision to completely dominate, or stay home. Right now...they're completely dominating the East.
Only two players on the Nationals starting lineup have fewer than eight home runs- Anthony Rendon and Ben Revere. Everybody else is killing it at the plate. Wilson Ramos is having his most productive season ever. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are moving mountains at the plate. This is probably one of the most consistently 'on' lineups they've had in Washington. Even if they have people like Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth, who don't have the greatest averages but are still power hitting, it's still keeping them going.
The pitching staff is equally impressive. The fact that I'm posting a Gio Gonzalez custom in June definitely articulates this- dude's not the best guy on the team, but he's still got a nice ERA, and is keeping the hitters down. He's not at 2012 levels, but he's a serviceable guy. Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer are responsible for just standing up there and daring the rest of the NL to hit them. They both have over 100 strikeouts. Strasburg has nine wins. Add Tanner Roark and Joe Ross, both with equally impressive ERAs, and you have a rotation that doesn't have any weak spots.
Not too many other MLB rosters have this many starting position players who do what they're told. Yes, Zimmerman is dealing with a brief DL stint, but the core is succeeding, and the team is making serious waves. If they keep this going, we may have one of the fiercest fights to the finish, between them, the Giants and the Cubs, in MLB history.
Coming Tomorrow- Second baseman for the...(double takes)...FIRST PLACE CLEVELAND INDIANS????