Is the hype to be believed? Could the Nationals actually contend this year?
Could they actually contend? Hmm… does watching a pitcher’s duel strike me with uncontainable bonerjamz? HELL to the YES, my friend! There are 159 games left in the season, and the Nats could win ‘em all!
Or not. Still, this is not your embarrassing Expo leftover Natinal squad of old; rather, this is a team with bona fide pitching, timely bats and a revered sage at the helm! Do you think Davey Johnson thinks they can contend? I’d bet my 1986 eight-ball wrapper collection he does.
And why not? Without Howard and Utley for a good stretch, the Phillies find themselves offensively challenged. The Braves, still salty from their epic fail of 2011, certainly don’t have all the answers. I’m not convinced the Marlins are really any better than they were before they decided to blind us with ugly and the Mets are the Mets (though don’t sleep on them either, as a .500 season is not entirely out of the question).
The truth is, the NL East isn’t as predictable as it used to be. And the addition of another wild card team makes it possible to hope a little longer.
But the number one reason why the Natinals have a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot this year is… The ONE.
Okay, wrong ONE. But believe me, to Stephen Strasburg, there is no spoon. Also taking the red pill this year are Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and (presumably) John Lannan. That’s one helluva starting rotation+.
When Bryce Harper eventually finds his way into the rabbit hole, there will be even MORE reason to respect the potential of the Washington Nationals (not to mention a tomfoolery fodder spike for Deadspin).
Would I put big money on the Nats now? Maybe not. Would I put money on them to be a cellar dweller? Absolutely not. This team could find its identity and they could do it as soon as now. They could be the ’11 D’backs or the ’08 Rays.
Better yet, they could be the 2012 Nationals. (see what I did there?)
Hate me ‘cuz I love Stephen Strasburg as if he were one of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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