Thursday, September 8, 2016
The Nationals vs. Autumn
I'm not about to laugh at a trend, publicize a trend or compliment a trend. I'm just going to point out a trend.
In 2012, the Nationals are huge. In 2014, the Nationals are even more huge. And now, it is 2016, and the Nationals are still a pretty dominating, impressive force in the NL.
Both those year that aren't 2016...the Nationals were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, in the divisional series'. The other two years they started strong and fell out. And now...here they are. The Washington Nationals, making a playoff run, in a year where the Cubs have been surging since March, and in a year where the Giants have been known to creep around a corner thanks to what kind of year it is.
BUT...All's not lost. I personally think the Nationals have what it takes to get past the NLDS this year, and here's why.
The pitching's pretty well put-together this year, possibly a bit more than in '14. Strasburg's got his stuff back, Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark are surging, Gio Gonzalez is alright, and they have a ton of younger arms like Lucas Giolito, A.J. Cole, Joe Ross and Reynaldo Lopez to suppress them. Plus, they've rearranged their bullpen so that Jonathan Papelbon's got less power and ACTUAL BEAST MARK MELANCON is in the closing position.
The lineup's tighter, too. I saw these guys live last month and couldn't believe how much power was packed into that lineup. From the obvious standouts like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy to people like Anthony Rendon, Wilson Ramos and Danny Epinoza, who can hit one out when you least expect it, to old standards like Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and...yeah, Ben Revere's not great but they have Trea Turner to be absolute standouts and take his place.
This is a pretty horrifying team, and even when they were playing the O's I was afraid they'd take them out on power alone (the O's won). There's a ton of depth behind the muscle, and there's a lot more to these guys than there was in '14 and '12. Now they've got reasons to fight.
I think it'd be a great story if these guys got farther this year. Not sure if the World Series is a lock at the moment...but oh, what a story it'd be if they got there...
Coming Tomorrow- I don't care how terrible your team is. If your bat catches fire for two weeks, you're getting customized.