One week from today, the Washington Nationals season will be underway. After the best season in their history, the Nats will try to exceed expectations with a team that many expect to win the National League East, and the NL on the whole. How can you possibly exceed those expectations? I’m not sure, but this team sure seems poised to do so.
When the 98-win Nationals started their 2012 season, no one expected much from the team. Most expected them to achieve their first winning season since the 2005 Inaugural Season, but the final regular season result changed the dynamic of baseball in our Nation’s Capital. And it all happened with the unique dynamic created by Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo.
The pitching rotation is obviously the core of the team’s future success. With Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren, and Ross Detwiler, the team is poised to, once again, have the best pitching rotation in all of baseball. Detwiler is poised to be the best number five pitcher in the game for the second straight season, and Stephen Strasburg will have a full season to show his worth and value to the best team in baseball.
The offensive and defensive lineup is nothing to be ashamed of either. The one through six of Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond is among the best top six in the game, and it improves the lineup of a team that was already the best in the NL last season.
So, on paper, there’s so much that should be better this season. The only thing that’s changed is the expectations. After such an incredible and unexpected 2012, the 2013 Nats have a whole lot of pressure surrounding them.
Jayson Werth is used to that sort of pressure, but there aren’t many others who are. Zimmerman, Desmond, Harper, and others have gotten the postseason experience from last year, but turning those expectations into results isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. People expect more of them this season.
Quite honestly, I do, too. And most others do, as well. It’s going to be an incredible season of baseball in Washington, DC, which starts in just a week, and it all starts with what we expect from this team. Let those expectations run high. After last season, you deserve the high expectations.
If you haven’t read Adam Kilgore’s article about Jayson Werth this past weekend, now’s the time to do so, because it really embodies the state of the Washington Nationals. In one week, we’ll be talking about the result of a true, meaningful baseball game. And then for six plus months after that.
If you’ve been around since 2005, the importance of these circumstances won’t be lost on you. We’re in the homestretch of an offseason that may prove to be the most important in team history. It’s finally about time for some baseball, and it’s time to expect greatness from a team that’s been set up to succeed.