The Washington Nationals dropped two of three in Dodger Stadium earlier this season, in the series in which Bryce Harper had his run-in with the right field wall. The Los Angeles Dodgers were struggling then, trying their best to play their manager out of a job. Coming into this weekend's series in the nation's capital, the Dodgers are a different team. Twelve games under .500 on June 21st, LA's gone 16-5 over the last 21 games to get them up to .500 at the break at 47-47, 2.5 games out in the NL West. Before the 48-47 Nats and the 47-47 Dodgers get started tonight, we answered some questions from the SB Nation's Dodgers site, True Blue LA, about what's going on with the Nationals:
True Blue LA: To get a better understanding of who you think the best player or players are on the Nationals so far this season, who do you think the teams' MVP and Cy Young would be if the season ended right now? It can be a pitcher for both, or a pitcher and a hitter.
Federal Baseball: Ian Desmond is the Nationals' first-half MVP in my opinion. He's played 94 of 95 games. Among NL shortstop's he's second in hits with 100, first in doubles with 24 and first in home runs with 15 in 389 PAs. He's first in fWAR at +3.5 at the Break. He has a .281/.328/.486 line which is down slightly from his .292/.335/.511 breakout season last year though it's up a bit from his career .273/.316/.435 line.
He's been by far the most consistent position player. His defense is vastly improved from his first few seasons. No doubt in my mind he's been the team MVP thus far.
As for the Nats' Cy Young, it's Jordan Zimmermann after the first half of the season. He's (9-0) with a 1.75 ERA at home in D.C., where he's unbeaten since May 2012. He's got three complete games, a 2.58 ERA at the break, a 49.0% GB%, which is a career-high and just 1.22 BB/9 in 132 1/3 IP. He's held opponents to a .220/.253/.341 line. He pounds the strike zone and is just a relatively emotionless, unflappable force. And he just gets to quietly go about his business while Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez get most of the press. No issue in my mind calling him the Nats' best starter or the team Cy Young so far.
• Read the entire Q&A with True Blue LA via the link below:
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