“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): The Nationals are no longer the hot pick, so they might as well win the NL

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to (and in some cases the aftermath of) the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. This is the Nationals entry.

Last season, the Nationals were the trendy pick to win the World Series. This year, they are not.

Which probably means they’ll go and win the NL because baseball history is full of teams going on to win after everyone else has moved on to a new pick. The best Cardinals team of this century (2004) didn’t win the World Series, but two years later (2006) a 83-76 team won it, for example. Plenty of people probably picked the Cardinals in 2004. I doubt as many picked them in 2006, at least once the playoffs started and they only had a 83-win season.

So… why not the the Nationals? They still have Bryce Harper, they still have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Jonathan Papelbon is…well…. Jonathan Papelbon, for better and for worse. Maybe Daniel Murphy will be even half as good as he was in the postseason last year. Are they as good on paper as some previous Nationals teams? No. But, well, these games aren’t played on paper.

So… why not the Nationals?

 

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MVP of Yesterday (September 28, 2015): Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer gave up no hits for 7 1/3 innings, and although he ended up giving up a earned run and two hits (and three walks), he still struck out 10 and got the win, and also had two hits of his own. So, he’s the MVP of Yesterday.

Standings, as always, after the jump:

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“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2015): Are the Washington Nationals going to win it all? Well… Maybe?

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today: The Washington Nationals, my early favorite for World Series champion.

I think the Washington Nationals will win the World Series this season. And yet, I’m not 100% sure why I think this.

Maybe it’s the pitching. They have added Max Scherzer to an already excellent staff that includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister.

Maybe it’s because this might be the year that Bryce Harper returns to form after an off-year last season.

Maybe it’s because of Anthony Rendon.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because this will be the year where things click, where the odd breaks that have gone against them will go for them, where the bullpen won’t screw it up, and they finally go to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Or maybe not. Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know, but for some reason- and I’m not sure what- I think this is the Nationals’ year.

Maybe.

2014 SEASON PREVIEW (PART 7): Best Case/Worst Case for… the NL EAST (with Getty Images)

We reach our last installment of Best Case/Worst Case… with, of course, sometimes irrelevant images from Getty.

Here we go:

Atlanta Braves:

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Best-Case Scenario: World Series. I mean, look at that pitching staff! Look at the young hitters! They should at least make the playoffs, right.

Worst-Case Scenario: Well, unless their pitching gets hurt. If that happens, there could be big trouble.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: Whoops. It’s already happened.

Washington Nationals

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Best-Case Scenario: The World Series comes to Washington for the first times since the 1930s, while Bryce Harper makes a great leap forward into near-Trout levels of awesomeness, bro.

Worst-Case Scenario: Stephen Strasburg’s arm spontaneously combusts during a game.

Worst-Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: Harper stagnates, Strasburg and Friends get hurt, Matt Williams is not a good manager, etc.

New York Mets

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Best Case Scenario: Everybody stays healthy and they don’t embarrass themselves too much before Matt Harvey returns next season from Tommy John. Maybe some of the prospects, like Noah Syndergaard, make their first appearances.

Worst Case Scenario: This is the Mets, so you should imagine your worst case scenario for them then multiply it by 500.

Worst Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: This is the Mets, so you should imagine your worst case scenario for them then multiply it by… 499.

Philadelphia Phillies

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Best Case Scenario: The Fountain Of Youth hits the Phillies and they do one last run.

Worst Case Scenario: They are a bunch of old guys who play like it, and Ruben Amaro still acts like it’s the last years of the previous decade.

Worst Case Scenario That Could Actually Happen: See above.

Miami Marlins
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Best Case Scenario: Giancarlo Stanton hits lots of dingers, Jose Fernandez is awesome.

Worst Case Scenario: The above doesn’t happen….

Worst Case Scenario That Might Actually Happen: See above.

 

Next Time: The Previews Continue…

Curse of Steve McCatty Update

Since Michael Clair unleashed images of Nationals’ pitching coach Steve McCatty‘s 1980s Playgirl shoot upon the world, the Nationals have gone 31-38. In contrast, the Braves have gone 13-0 since opening a Waffle House at Turner Field, and now hold a 15.5 game lead over the Nationals in the NL East.

In other words, finding out your pitching coach was in Playgirl causes you to go under .500, while getting a Waffle House in your stadium ensures roughly two weeks and counting of undefeated play. It’s science.