The Washington Nationals Quest for 1st Place
So far after the first half of the season, the Washington Nationals are keeping things very interesting and challenging the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East standings, only half a game back of the Braves with a 43-38 record. Washington Nationals discount tickets are very difficult to find, except at specific online ticket agencies. Lately that has been without one of the league’s most exciting players, Bryce Harper, who is soon to come off the 15-day disabled list. In his last rehab start with Double-A team affiliate Harrisburg, Harper was very impressive hitting 4 for 5 with three home runs. If Harper can stay healthy the rest of the season and get his numbers back up, he can be just what the Nationals need to get past the Braves for first place. Currently, the Nationals hold the third spot in the NL wild card standings, only a half game behind the Dodgers and Cardinals.
Stephen Strasburg has not been his dominant self this season, only going 6-6 with a 3.70 ERA which is a noticeable step down from his career ERA average of 3.11. While he does lead the team with 123 strikeouts, Jordan Zimmermann leads the team with a 2.95 ERA, and Tanner Roark leads the team in the win column with a 7-5 record. While the pitching isn’t as dominant as it could be, the Nationals are still only a half game out of first place. If there’s a boost in pitching, either by the current starters or with a mid-season trade, it could mean the difference between going to the playoffs or staying home this October.
Adam LaRoche is the only player hitting over .300 for Washington, hitting .308 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI’s. The team as a whole is only batting .244, which is 21st in the entire league. They are 19th in runs scored and 21st in OBP with .312. Despite the average looking records for the pitching staff, the Nationals do lead the league in ERA with a 3.07, and are 5th in WHIP with a 1.20. If the pitchers can get more run support and players on base, and keep its star players like Bryce Harper healthy, they will have a much better record during the second half of the season and overtake the Atlanta Braves for first place. After the All-Star break, the Nationals will have eight games left against the Braves, and they end the season with a highly favorable schedule, with three games at home against the Mets and the last four games of the season at home against the Marlins.