Are The Washington Nationals For Real?

One great aspect of Major League baseball is that every year there are teams that blow away expert and fan expectations.

This year, there have been a handful of those teams, including the Orioles, White Sox, Dodgers, Pirates, Mets, and Nationals.

Today I’m going to focus on what I feel is the biggest surprise of that group: the Nationals.

In recent years, baseball fans have watched the Tampa Bay Rays rise from the bottom of the AL East to an annually elite level. It was a long process certainly, but when the team turned the corner the long wait seemed entirely worth it.

It showed us that building an entire organization from the ground up is tough but certainly doable.

And in 2012, it looks like the same story is beginning to be told for the “Nasty Nats.”

Photo courtesy USA Today


The Nationals are 38-23 and in first place of the loaded NL East. They’re 4 1/2 games ahead of the also surprising New York Mets, and seem to be in the driver’s seat of the division for the foreseeable future.

But of course a young, successful team will field the question: “contender or pretender?”

When trying to figure out whether or not Washington can stay atop the standings down the stretch and indeed make the playoffs, you have to look first at the team’s pitching. And in the case of the Nationals, that category doesn’t disappoint.

Super Starting Staff

I could throw a lot of complex stats at you about how good the pitching in Washington has been to this point, but you only need one to get the idea: the Nationals’ ERA, as a team, is 2.94.

Yeah, I typed that right and you read it right…2.94.

Led by a couple of the league’s best pitchers, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, the Nats are on a 6-game winning streak and bringing more attention to the already compelling story that has been developing in the nation’s capital.

But their pitching isn’t just top heavy. They have one of the deepest staffs around.

The Nationals starters’ ERAs are as follows: Gio Gonzalez, 2.35; Stephen Strasburg, 2.45; Jordan Zimmerman, 2.91; and Edwin Jackson, 3.02. And they have three very formidable options for the 5th starter in Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang, and Tom Gorzelanny.

They have four relievers currently with an ERA of 2.25 or lower, and that’s without their closer, Drew Storen, who has been on the DL all season. So there’s no drop off from the starters to the relievers.

Photo courtesy Washington Post

Yes, I’m the type of baseball guy that thinks pitching wins championships. But just because I feel that way doesn’t mean I don’t think offense is important, so let’s delve in to the Nationals’ hitters.

Improving Lineup Brimming With Potential

Overall, the team has a nice combination of seasoned veterans and youngsters. Their offensive production has not been good to this point, as they’re basically a middle-of-the-pack type team at the plate, but I think they’ll only get better from that from here on out.

As they continue to get more healthy, the bats will heat up throughout the summer.

Guys that have been around the league for a while like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Werth, and Rick Ankiel, have been solid, especially LaRoche, who has been a great surprise to this point with 42 RBI. Mix those guys with great young talent like Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Desmond, and you’ve got yourself a solid li’l lineup.

Considering their injuries to this point on offense, like I said, I only see them producing more as the season goes on. And while I don’t expect their pitching staff to hold their team ERA below 3.00 the rest of the way, as long as they’re still very good the increased offense that I anticipate from them should even it out, if you will.

Photo courtesy

So…Contender or Pretender?

As I’m sure you can tell, I’m a believer in the Nationals.

If they weren’t playing in the same division as four other solid-to-very-good teams, I’d be 100% set on picking them for the playoffs. It’ll be hard for them to overcome Atlanta and Miami among others over the long haul, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they can do it.

Considering there are now two Wild Card teams qualifying for each league’s playoffs, I would be surprised if the Nationals do not make it. I think they have a very good shot at winning their division, but a great shot at grabbing a Wild Card spot if they do not.

When you have as much great pitching as Washington does, you’ve made a believer out of me.

It’s a race that will be a ton of fun to watch, as there are a handful of other teams trying to shock the masses like the Nats are. Stay tuned for my dissection of the Baltimore Orioles here on MSF in the coming days.

About Zach Gropper

Zach Gropper is a sports broadcasting major at Indiana University in the beautiful town of Bloomington, IN. He is from Flossmoor, IL, a small Chicago suburb.
Zach was was the sports director for WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor his junior year of high school and Television Station Manager of Viking Television during his senior year.
He runs a White Sox blog at and also contributes and reports for Last summer, Zach interned for ESPN 1000 AM Chicago, working on programming for the Waddle and Silvy Show.
He is currently eager to get out into the professional world of sports media, wherever that may take him.


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    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

    People have been saying the end is coming for many years, but we needed two key things. One, the Third Temple, and two, the technology for a cashless society to fulfill the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast.

    Visit http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM to see proof for these things and why the Bible truly is the word of God!

    If you haven’t already, it is time to seek God with all your heart. Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. He wants to have a relationship with you and redeem you from your sins. Turn to Him and repent while there is still hope! This is forever…God bless!


    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

    A worldview without God cannot account for the uniformity and intelligibility of nature. And why is it that we can even reason that God is the best explanation for this if there is no God? We are given reason to know or reject God, but never to know that He does not exist.

    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the website listed below with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus came to pay a debt that we could not; to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23).

    God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him, through faith, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says if we wish to enter into life to keep the commands! The two greatest commands are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and your neighbor as yourself. All the law hang on these commands. We must be born of and lead by the Holy Spirit, to be called children of God, to inherit the kingdom. If we are willing to humble ourselves in prayer to Jesus, to confess and forsake our sins, He is willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking of Him; giving us a new heart, leading us into all truth!

    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. For sin is the transgression of the law. We must walk in the Spirit so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our own desires that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness through faith (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow the rituals and traditions of man but to take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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  126. “You are my breathing in, I own few web logs and very sporadically run out from to post .”


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