The Washington Nationals are not going to contend this season. But they may be closer than we realize.
The Nationals’ 23-29 record is not much to look at. They are still in the NL East basement, eight games behind the Braves and four games out of a Wild Card berth at the one-third mark of the season. But the Nationals have also been playing well of late. As Mark Zuckerman from MASN Sports pointed out, their 18-16 record since April 20th is the fourth best record in the National League in that stretch of time.
Light at the end of the Washington Nationals’ tunnel
It is not a surprise that the Nationals’ youngsters are leading the way. Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore, a pair of young arms acquired in separate trades, are leading the rotation. Reclamation projects Hunter Harvey and Carl Edwards Jr. have stepped up in the bullpen. Even Patrick Corbin has become useful again, putting together a solid run since the beginning of May, his outing on Friday notwithstanding.
The pitching staff is not the only area to step up. Lane Thomas is beginning to emerge as a possible star in the Nationals’ lineup. Luis Garcia and CJ Abrams have plenty of potential in the middle of the infield and could become cornerstone players. Jeimer Candelario has found his bat once again now that he left Detroit. And with other pieces on the way in the minors, the future is bright in Washington.
Of course, none of this means that the Nationals will be contending for a playoff berth this season. A lot would need to go right in order for that to happen, coupled with several collapses from teams ahead in the standings. But stranger things have happened – just look at the Nationals’ run in 2019. Even if that surge does not manifest, the Nationals look ready to come out of their rebuilding process.
The Washington Nationals have been one of the NL’s best teams in the past month. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.