Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Are the Nationals built for a long playoff run?

The Washington Nationals have won the division for the fourth title in the last six years and are built to win. The
question is, can this team execute and perform in the post season like they have in the regular season?
via lastwordonbaseball.com

via MLB Network
 Hey Nationals fans!!!! The team has clinched the division and are the first team in the MLB to do so. The only knock on this team would be that the NL East is the weakest division in baseball, which is true but the Nats can only play who's on their schedule. Dusty Baker has managed this team great all season long and deserves major consideration for NL Manager of the year. The Lerner's need to lock him in for a long term deal to stay and manage this team. With the injuries, the early season bullpen issues, managing the superstars and the everyday players is a difficult balance and he has mastered it. Every player that has played for him has nothing but great things to say about him, the way he manages and how he allows them to be men and play the game that they love. Check out the list above of injuries and the players that we've lost to the DL at some point and currently this season. This team has faced adversity through the years and this season, now it's the postseason and the game gets that much more intense and important. I feel this team is ready to take that next step and finally get that elusive first playoff series win and more.
1Los Angeles DodgersNL92523.4314414444591287.210905214911653981381.
2Arizona DiamondbacksNL83613.6214414440581284.011655785161494531331.
3Washington NationalsNL88553.8314314341561278.211565915441734321277
4St. Louis CardinalsNL75683.8614314340571281.112266045501604271185
5Milwaukee BrewersNL75694.0514414449701283.012326315781705081198
                                     via MLB Network
Pitching: The Nationals have one constant throughout these four division titles and that has been the pitching staff. The addition and long term signing of ace Max Scherzer, the maturation of Gio Gonzalez, and the emergence of Stephen Strasburg have this team stacked and ready to take on any MLB lineup. With Mad Max and Strasburg having late season DL visits, it's great to see them rounding back into form. In Strasburg's case he now is the franchise leader in scoreless innings with 34 consecutive and counting. Not to mention Gio's consistency all season. The fact that these three pitchers are in consideration for the NL Cy Young, which is unheard of says a lot about this team. Fans have gotten so used to this amazing staff that when the back end of the bullpen was blowing saves and games they were ready to fire everybody including Mike Rizzo. The starters have always carried their weight and normally the bullpen did also but it didn't start out that way this season. The trade deadline acquisitions of Ryan Madson, Brain Kintzler, and Sean Doolittle have made this bullpen a strength and not a weakness. Check out the ranking of the Nationals pitching staff in the NL.
via MLB Network
Offense: This Nationals offense has been explosive at times, leading the MLB with 24 games scoring 10+ runs and haven't missed a beat with all the aforementioned injuries. When the team has had so many injuries at key positions and players but are still 33 games over .500 that says alot about the team and franchise. With players like Adam Eaton, Jason Werth, Michael Taylor and of course Bryce Harper missing extended time and the offense still produces, what else can you say. Mike Rizzo has drafted well, made quality free agent acquisitions and haven't mortgaged the future. In the first hour of episode 68 of Sports On The Hill Podcast we broke down this team and how good this team really is. With players like Wilmer Difo, Adrian Sanchez, Michael Taylor, Brian Goodwin and many others the talent on this team is amazing. All teams have injuries and have to deal with adversity but being 32 games above .500 with all these injuries just shows this team truly believes in itself and each other. Some GM's would have mortgaged the future for a long shot run at the World Series but not Rizzo. The fact that this team can play small ball or hit the long ball makes this team dangerous and able to adapt to any type of game. Just look at these team numbers and how impressive they are. Mind you I didn't even mention Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman or Anthony Rendon.....This lineup is loaded.

Intangibles: With the post season disappointments and let downs the Nationals have faced through the past six seasons, it can only fuel them even more to reach their ultimate goal as a team. The combination of youth, experience, superstars and dedicated ball players, this team has a comfort level and feel about them that hopefully equals post season success. The talent is there, the desire is there now it's just time to execute and continue to play fundamental Nationals baseball and everything else will take care of itself. With the Dodgers free falling right now the Nationals are only 5 games behind them for the best record in the NL and home field advantage throughout the divisional playoffs. I can go on and on about this team but ill let the pros of MLB Network do it for you. I truly believe this team is built for a long run in the post season. The experience, skill, talent, desire and will this team has, there is no reason this team shouldn't have to win it all. #LetGoNats
Great breakdown of the Nats by MLB Network and love them showing the
teams celebration.
via MLB Network
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