The Washington Nationals have been one of the best teams in Major League Baseball for the last seven years. The team has posted a winning record each year since 2012. The Nats are a perennial playoff team. However, the Nationals will no longer be judged for simply making the playoffs. This year they will be judged to see if they can not only make the World Series but if they win it.
The playoff struggles of the Washington Nationals are well noted. The team has had early playoff exits in 2012, 2014, and 2016. In 2012, the Nats lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals after being up in the Series 2-1. In 2014, the Nats lost to the San Francisco Giants, eventual World Series Champions. They lost the 1st game of that playoff series in the longest playoff game in MLB history which went 18 innings. In 2016, they lost to the Lost Angeles Dodgers in another series that they had a lead in and were not able to close it out. This team has not even made it to the National League Championship Series much less the World Series. This year, in 2017, they have already qualified for the Playoffs which start next week. The Nats have one of the best records in the league again this year.
The question is will this year be different in the Playoffs? Here are more questions I will be looking at in trying to answer that question. Is the Nats Superstar Bryce Harper fully healthy as he returns to the lineup right before the Postseason? Are the big bats, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, of the Nats going to step up in the Post Season? Will the Nats pitching ace, Max Scherzer, continue to play lights out? Will pitching stud, Stephen Strasburg, stay healthy which is something he has had trouble doing. How will the new and improved bullpen featuring Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson hold up in the Playoffs? Finally, can legendary manager Dusty Baker lead this team over the Hump in the Playoffs?
Could this finally be the year for the Washington Nationals? Stay tuned! It remains to be seen.