Okay, the Nats are scuffling. But, because yesterday was all gloom and doom, here are some happier points: First, the 2012 and 2016 Nats, who both could’ve made it out of the first round quite easily, went 4-3 in the last seven games of the regular season — i.e., the week we’re in right now. Plus, Bryce Harper can run and kind of hit. And Trea Turner was on base all night. And Jayson Werth made hard contact!
Okay. With that in mind, here’s what’s new in Washington.
Here's why the Nationals can win the World Series
The lineup is deep, the starting rotation is flat out incredible, the bullpen does its job, and the bench is stellar. If all goes according to, or even close to, plan, watch out.
Nats will face Cubs in NLDS
The Nats will get games one and two in D.C., then go to Chicago for 3, and a hypothetical 4. 5 would be in Washington.
Brian Goodwin on track to be available for NLDS
Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth need the major-league at-bats more, though, so Goodwin will get his in Florida (and probably more of them, even though they're at a lower quality). (Also, it's unclear who the backup catcher will be!)
Under radar Anthony Rendon enjoys anonymity
Rendon only cares about the respect of his peers. In fact, the pundits, he could probably do without. If he plays like this again next year, he'll be dodging them more and more.
Matt Wieters not producing at plate, but has presence felt behind it
Wieters is in a mega-slump, but the main asset he brings to the team is his pitch-calling, which is intensely personal and well-catered to each and every pitcher. Even so, it's kind of difficult to see an average in the .220s starting every day.
The Nats will not win 100 games
They could still win 99, which they should, because they're frankly better than the 2012 team.
Bryce Harper passes first true test in return to action
Harper was able to make a pivot, field a ball, and unleash an absolute rocket to home plate. Worry? Check it off the list.
MLB Rookie Profile: Pedro Severino, C, Washington Nationals - Minor League Ball
Severino is "renowned for his defensive ability."
The MLB All-Surprise Team:
"The Nationals aren’t going to relegate Eaton or Bryce Harper to the bench in 2018 in favor of Taylor, but with Jayson Werth’s mammoth contract finally expiring, maybe Washington has an in-house replacement for him until uber-prospect Victor Robles is ready to go at the major league level."
Today’s Game: Pirates vs Nationals — 7:05 PM
Probable Pitchers: Ivan Nova vs Edwin Jackson