They were the odds on World Series favorite.
They were “the most balanced team in baseball”, with “no real weakness”.
Then, the Washington Nationals’ season started.
Forty-seven games into the 2013 season and the Washington Nationals sit at 24-23, 4.5 games back of the 1st place Braves and only 1 game up on the 3rd place Phillies.
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Overall, they have the 16th best record in baseball.
For a team that was supposed to be “balanced”, the Nats have been everything but. Ranking 28th or lower in basically every Major offensive category and watching their bullpen blow 8 saves already.
Actually, I take that back, the Nats have been extremely balanced in the win/loss column. Posting an 8-8 record against NL East foes, 7-9 vs. the Central, and 4-6 vs. the West. Also, they are 18-18 vs. right-handed starters and 6-5 vs. left-handed starters.
Is it going to get better?
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Well, not according to their run differential. At -26 (21st in the MLB), the Nationals run differential puts their projected record at 20-27, which is way below the Nats current mark. Which tells me two things:
1. The Nationals have been lucky to remain afloat this long. No other team with a winning record has a negative run differential. Not to mention one that far into the negative.
2. They just aren’t very good right now and there are really no big signs of encouragement.
Now that I have ripped on the Nationals, let me say that they can obviously never be counted out with the rotation that they have (3rd in quality starts in the MLB). With as deep as this rotation is, they have the opportunity to get really hot for a while.
However, when your ace—Stephen Strasburg—gives you 10 quality starts in 10 chances and gets only 2 wins, you know you’re in trouble. That shows that the offenses struggles have been since day 1 and haven’t stopped.
Yes, the lineup has had a couple injuries, but most of their projected starters have been healthy all year (Harper, Desmond, Span, LaRoche, Espinosa, and even Zimmerman) and just haven’t been producing.
Here I was worried about the Nationals not being able to win down the stretch. At this pace, it won’t really matter.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson