The Washington Nationals may or may not reach the postseason this year. They are mathematically alive in the Wild Card race in the National League, but whether or not they’ll actually be able to pull this off remains to be seen. Of course, with the way they played over the first few months of the season, a playoff spot isn’t exactly something the club deserves.
Nonetheless, the Nationals have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, perhaps even the hottest, over the last several weeks. They’re just 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot in the NL, though with such little time remaining in the regular season, it’s a long shot.
Regardless of what happens this year, the Nationals have set themselves up well for next season. After a letdown having come into the year as heavy favorites out of the National League, to at least be in the pennant mix, they’ll head into a 2014 season in the same exact situation.
The offense has been there for the Nationals over this last stretch. If they can head into the 2014 season with the same type of production that they’re currently getting from the likes of Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos, and Ryan Zimmerman, all of which have absolutely lit up opposing pitching over the last several weeks, they’ll put runs on the board in bunches.
That’s not to mention the pitching staff that we already knew this team boasted. Tanner Roark has been absolutely fantastic, as has Drew Storen, out of the bullpen. Then there’s that whole starting staff, with names like Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman.
On paper, this Nationals team is among the best in the league. They were unable to realize expectations this season, for a variety of reasons. What this final stretch of the regular season has at least done is cement them as one of the teams to watch moving forward. They’ll be a top contender in 2014, and should be right in the thick of things in the National League pennant talk next year.