The Washington Nationals are no strangers to postseason baseball. In their last six seasons, they’ve made four postseason appearances. However, the Washington Nationals seem to have a very difficult time getting past the National League Division Series. These problems can be fixed with some free agent signings and potential trades.
However, the Washington Nationals still have a very talented team and are expected to reach the postseason once again in 2018. They are favorites to win the National League East in 2018, and here’s why.
When a team has names such as Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Bryce Harper on their squad, they’re expected to do big things. Scherzer, a Cy-Young winner, is the ace of the staff and is expected to carry the team when they need it most. In 2017, he went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 200.2 IP.
Stephen Strasburg had a fine year himself as well. He went 15-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 175.1 IP. Scherzer and Strasburg are certainly one of the best one-two punches in baseball when they are healthy. They are the absolute key to Washington’s continued success.
Momentum from Last Year
In 2017, the Washington Nationals fell just short of their first National League Championship Series, as they fell to the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Although this seems to be a growing curse for the city of Washington, their team is still ready to win now.
They must build on their previous postseason experience and a successful 2017 campaign. They must not let the pressure of the media and fans get to them. They need to just go out on the field and perform to the best of their ability.
Lack of Divisional Competition
In regards to their own division, the Washington Nationals pretty much stand alone. With the absolute fire sale disaster that is occurring with the Miami Marlins, they are at least two or three years away from actual contention. The Philadelphia Phillies will have an improved squad, but not ready to contend. The Atlanta Braves do not have a roster that is good enough to win a championship.
Their only real threat to the NL East Division Championship are the New York Mets. The Mets, if healthy, could have a relatively decent team that could certainly give the Washington Nationals a run for their money.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the Washington Nationals MUST advance to the National League Championship Series in 2018. Their window of opportunity is on its way to closing, with several stars set to hit free agency in the coming years. If I’m a Washington Nationals fan, my patience with the current team ends in 2018. They must go out there and put on a show that hopefully brings them a World Series Championship.
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