Nationals clinch NL East title

For the first time since before most people were born, Washington DC will host playoff baseball

10/2/12 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5233 respect

Oct 01, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals players Gio Gonzalez (center) and Bryce Harper (left) celebrate after clinching the National League east title at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIREBetween 2005 and 2010, the Washington Nationals finished in last place in the NL East every year except for 2007, in which they finished 4th out of 5.

Last year, they moved up to third, possibly a foreshadowing of what was to come in 2012.

This year, they've just clinched the NL East, and are competing with the Reds for the best record in baseball. There hasn't been playoff baseball in Washington DC since the Washington Senators in 1933, but now they're back.

It has been largely due to their incredible pitching rotation. Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann head into the playoffs as a potent 1-2 punch, and Ross Detwiler has been a pleasant surprise. Stephen Strasburg was also phenomenal, but he's out for the season thanks to some abysmal planning that resulted in him being shut down for the season on September 7.

Their lineup has been solid as well, with Ryan Zimmerman turning it on in the 2nd half, along with Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche, and Mike Morse having solid years.

With the return of Drew Storen in the bullpen after the All Star break to go along with newly established closer Tyler Clippard, they have a formidable set of relievers.

Manager Davey Johnson has done a great job guiding this young team to success. They lead all of baseball in run differential, they have the best team ERA in the National League, and the Cardinals are the only potential NL playoff team that outscored them.

Right now, they have as good a chance as anyone in the National League, and it should be interesting to see how they compete against teams that have far more playoff experience.

Do you think this is the Nationals' year? Will the loss of Strasburg be their undoing? Can they overcome their nerves and inexperience to make some noise in the playoffs? No matter what, it should be fun to watch.
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10/2/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

Pat wrote:
For fans in the DC area, the Expos are pretty irrelevant.

Also, nothing that I said was false. You'll notice that I focused on "playoff baseball in DC," not playoff baseball in this particular franchise's history.

I know your blog did not fall prey to what the rest of the media was doing.  Essentially claiming the Twins history as the Nationals'.  Kuddos to you for that.  I was merely lamenting that the Nats themselves seem to be favoring a revisionist history by ignoring the fact they were the Expos and latching onto the Senators history.

10/2/12   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

This could be a sign of things to come in the next couple of years if both the Orioles and Nationals can keep making it to the playoffs. I think the odds of either one of these teams making it to the world series this year is remote in my book.  I believe when all is said and done that the Reds will make it in the NL as a tribute for Dusty Baker's health and that Texas will represent the AL and take home the title for the 1st time in team history. 

10/2/12   |   Pat   |   5233 respect

ML31 wrote:
The thing I find weird is every time the Nats winning the division is mentioned they say this is the teams first post season since 1933.  Which is 100% false.  The team was in the playoffs in 1981 and lost to the Dodgers in the LCS.  As the Montreal Expos.  This team seems to want to ignore their Montreal history and latch on to history that isn't even theirs. 

For fans in the DC area, the Expos are pretty irrelevant.

Also, nothing that I said was false. You'll notice that I focused on "playoff baseball in DC," not playoff baseball in this particular franchise's history.

10/2/12   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

The thing I find weird is every time the Nats winning the division is mentioned they say this is the teams first post season since 1933.  Which is 100% false.  The team was in the playoffs in 1981 and lost to the Dodgers in the LCS.  As the Montreal Expos.  This team seems to want to ignore their Montreal history and latch on to history that isn't even theirs.