Found July 26, 2012 on The Nats Blog:

lombderosaharp

When the season began, Washington Nationals fans had a set of expectations. Those expectations varied as much as the people who had them, but it is safe to say that most fans were happy at the idea of a record above .500 for the 2012 campaign before the season began. On July 26, after 97 games, that’s no longer the case. Nats fans expect more now. They expect to win something big.

In the preseason, I said the Nationals would finish third in the National League East entering this season, behind the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies haven’t worked out very well so far this year and are in last place in the division and 14 games back. The Miami Marlins, who many expected to finish in first in the East, are 13.5 games back and in fourth place.

The Nats, though, behind exceptional pitching and a quickly improving offense, have showed people across the baseball universe that simply finishing over .500 isn’t going to be enough for them. At 58-39, the Nats are 19 games over the .500 mark, which is the first time that’s happened since July 5, 2005. Most everyone agrees that this team is way, way better than that team. The team is younger, more vibrant, and less vulnerable to a collapse down the stretch.

Nats pitchers still have the best ERA in the NL, and they don’t strand nearly as many base runners as they did earlier in the season. Maybe even more important than that, this team believes it can win. Whether it’s the budding relationship between Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, or the camaraderie that the hitters have amongst themselves, there’s a different feel when you watch this team. You get the feeling they’re going to win, even when things are going poorly.

Just one more win this year will tie the 2008 and 2009 win totals (59), and it’s not even August yet. This team, and its fans, have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. The season isn’t over yet; there is a lot of baseball yet to play. But it’s time to get excited about what you’re seeing. It’s about being excited about watching a team that has a chance to win every single game. For baseball fans in DC that have been starved for good baseball, what else can you ask for?

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Washington Nationals Bullpen Pitcher Recite Lines From 'Fifty Shades of Grey' (Video)

During a road trip to New York to take on the Mets, members of the first-place Washington Nationals bullpen showed off their literary skills, reading passages from the popular E.L. James novel "Fifty Shades of Grey." The stunt came about after Nats first baseman Michael Morse admitted his girlfriend had recently been reading the book, correcting a report that he had been...

So the 2012 Nationals are the 1984 Mets...

(Photo via SI.com/Vault) And so the Washington Nationals left New York yesterday with the best record in the National league (needing just one more win to match their 2008 and 2009 win totals). In their wake, they left a reeling Mets team and billions of pixels comparing Davey Johnson's 2012 squad with Davey Johnson's 1984 squad, and the dual-phenom phenomenon of Harper...

Stephen Strasburg didn't nibble, was really dirty.

"It's just...attack the strike zone, don't nibble, and make them put the ball in play...you want to go out and make your stuff really dirty." (Stephen Strasburg, via MASNSports.com postgame, 7/25/2012) "He's tremendous. My gosh, almighty." (Terry Collins, via MASNSports.com, 7/25, 2012) Nationals 5, Mets 2: Sweep! Nasty, filthy Strasburg...

Nats bullpen reads 50 Shades of Grey

Even better than Tyler Clippard attempting to play drums at the MLB Fan Cave? Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen, Sean Burnett, and Ryan Mattheus reading 50 Shades of Grey:   (Via DC Sports Bog and everyone else in the world with a Twitter account and/or blog.) Befriend Nats Enquirer on Facebook. Follow on Twitter.

Strasburg dominates as Nats sweep

Stephen Strasburg struck out 11 in seven dominant innings, Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa hit consecutive homers and the Washington Nationals completed a sweep of the free-falling New York Mets on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory. Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer for a second straight day, and Espinosa doubled and scored on one of the Mets' two errors in the Nationals' fifth...

Strasburg's determination impressive in routine win

Stephen Strasburg is pretty tough on himself. He was visibly upset for allowing a ground-rule double to the Mets' Josh Thole in the fifth inning Wednesday. That kind of determination to be very good every game has defined the Washington Nationals' ace. His goal is not just to get outs. He demands more. Strasburg was brilliant in his 20th start, even if he thought he made...

Top Play: Roger Bernadina makes diving catch

On a night when rookies Starling Marte and Matt Harvey stole the show with amazing debut performances, Washington Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina made the top web gem with a diving snag in the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out and one on, Nyjer Morgan laced the 2-2 pitch to left center field in what appeared to be an extra base hit. Bernadina ran full speed from his...

Nationals Look To Stay Hot Against The Brew Crew

For their last full series of July, the Washington Nationals (58-39) will travel to Milwaukee, a city filled with the ghosts of their past failures, to face the Milwaukee Brewers (44-53). Success in this city has been elusive for the Nats, as the Brewers swept them the last two times they visited Miller Park, and the Nats haven't won a game there since July 28, 2009. The odds...

Gio, Nats, make Mr. Met cry...

Nationals 5, Mets 2: Ho-hum, just another series win for the Nats. Gio Gonzalez makes up for last time out against R.A. Dickey, dominates Mets. Sorry, Mr. Met. Gio's line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 87 pitches, 53 strikes. Oh deer! Adam LaRoche hits a bomb into the upper deck. Video here. Bryce Harper: 0-4, 3 K vs. Dickey... (Screencap of Mr. Met via @JWerthsBeard...

Snooki visits NY Mets, gets booed

The NY Mets took a break from their ERA and OPIs and got some GTL. Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi visited the team as the Mets took on the Washington Nationals. “I was obsessed in the early 2000s when we had [Bobby] Valentine,” Snooki told MLB.com. “I loved [John] Franco, Robin Ventura, all of them. I was obsessed.” The MTV reality star, who is pregnant, revealed she became...

Nationals 5, Mets 2

NEW YORK-Adam LaRoche's two-run homer-the third of five straight two-out hits off R.A. Dickey-broke a tie and started a four-run sixth inning for the Washington Nationals, and Gio Gonzalez allowed an unearned run on two hits over seven strong innings as the Nationals beat the reeling New York Mets 5-2 on Tuesday. The Nationals' fourth straight win improved their National...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.