A 60 game 2020 season is what stands ahead of the Nationals as they look to repeat as champions. It was an astonishing, and somewhat of a surprise, they were able to pull it off. Nonetheless, Washington now stands as a team with arguably the best starting pitching staff in baseball, a rising all star, and a superb manager. Favorable stuff to repeat if you ask me.
Nobody is sure how a 60 game season is truly going to work. Other players will respond differently to the absence of team practice, the uncertainty of the ever looming coronavirus, among numerous other factors. However, when you bring it down to just ball games, the Nats have the roster to compete.
The Nationals went on an amazing streak after the all star break. Thanks to the pitching staff, Washington kept a lot of opposing rosters down and won a ton of 1-2 run games. The two biggest stars on the mound for the Nats are undoubtedly the filthy veteran Max Scherzer, and the reigning World Series MVP, Stephen Strasburg. Put them aside, you still have some solid arms to deal with.
Another two guys to aid in the repeat are the likes of Anibal Sanchez and 2019 free agent stud, Patrick Corbin. Both men showed their incredible talent as they put it on display in the campaign. Sanchez went 11-8, but don’t judge by the record. Anibal kept his solid strikeout total consistent with the recent years reaching a total of 134 in 2019.
Corbin, who was a first time all star in 2018, just missed the mark to get the call the following year. Patrick had 238 strikeouts while going 14-7, and also posting a steady 3.25 ERA. This is someone who I believe will continue to provide his club with consistent output, and be a huge underrated factor for Washington.
To start with the bats, you first think of the rising star Juan Soto. At only 21 years old, Soto is a powerful lefty who beams in the offensive. The young star slashed a .282/34/110 line as the Nationals had a storybook year. This season will be an interesting test for Soto to say the least with Anthony Rendon removed from the picture.
Around Juan is the speedy shortstop Trea Turner who provides the heart of the order with opportunities for runs, the veteran versatile option of Howie Kendrick, and the steady Adam Eaton. These combined made for a rock solid lineup on the offensive side of the ball. Pitching will ultimately tell the tale whether of not Washington will be able to repeat as champions. Keep it close gents, the bats in the lineup will be ready.
Focusing primarily on the Nationals here, Washington returned to practice last Friday. This camp was without Ryan Zimmerman, who beforehand said he would opt out of the 2020 season. Following him was pitcher Joe Ross. This veteran leader first baseman and young arm decided to opt out due to “personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones”, the Nationals released.
Zimmerman has a three month old baby and a mother who has multiple sclerosis, and is super high risk. “Everyone knows how much it means to me to be a part of a team, and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year”, said Ryan about his decision.
“There’s a lot of factors that I and others have to consider. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer; it’s everybody’s individual choice.”
The Nationals have a great roster to compete this season. In the midst of all this uncertainty, if there is going to be MLB baseball this year, it ultimately comes down to winning. That is something the Nationals proved they could do.
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