The Washington Nationals, favorites to win the NL East, have already built an 11.5 game lead in the division, and aren’t looking back. At this point in the season with such a big league, it seems they will go toe to toe with the Astros to see who can either A) achieve the best record in the majors, or B) win their division by the most games. Regardless, the Nationals are poised to be a heavy favorite going into October this year, even after the crucial blow of losing starting CF Adam Eaton earlier this season. Ryan Zimmerman continues his torrid hitting display, leading Major League Baseball in Average, while in a close second for home runs (17), third in RBI’s (49), and second in slugging (.696). Daniel Murphy year in and year out contributes at the age of 32, and shows no signs of slowing down, and well Bryce Harper is Bryce Harper, nothing more needed.
While during the offseason, the Nationals were believed to be in the running for Chris Sale at some point, their starting pitching has been very strong with Steven Strasburg (7-2, 2.80 89 strikeouts) and Max Scherzer (7-3, 2.35, 114 strikeouts). So who is the ace of this staff, or are there two. The stats certainly point to two, and at this point, the Chris Sale talks, whether brief or in-depth at any point, are quickly forgotten.
With all their first half success in the 2017 season, the Nationals still appear to have some weakness at the back end of their bullpen for the time being. Koda Glover and Blake Treinen seem to bounce back and forth for saves, along with some thrown in for Matt Albers and other back end relievers as well. Who knows, maybe with the lineup the Nationals have, along with the two headed monster of Scherzer and Strasburg, a closer may not even be needed at this point. We shall see as the postseason inches closer, but either way, the Nationals should remain a strong World Series contender for the remainder of the season.