After clinching their first postseason since their move to the Nation’s Capital in 2012, the Washington Nationals have been one of the league’s more disappointing teams. It looked as though the team was built to be a consistent winner for years to come, leading to the team’s decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg in the post season. That move backfired as the talented hurler has been injury prone since and the team, although having made two postseasons since, have failed to advance out of the divisional series.
Could this year be the year for the Nats? They seem stacked on paper as potentially the Cubs’ biggest threat in the National League, but since 2012, odd years have been slump years for a team that struggles with consistency. Will 2017 be any different?
2016 Record: 95-67
2016 Moneyline Record: +0.27 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 76-78-8
Current World Series Odds: +1110
Current Odds To Win NL: +554
Current Odds To Win NL East: -166
Regular Season Win Total: 90.5
The easy favorites in the NL East, Washington returns a dynamic starting rotation after inking Strasburg to an extension last year to avoid him hitting the open market.
The talented right-hander has a career 3.17 ERA and looked really good last year, earning an All-Star bid. Still, he only started 24 games due to injury and has more than 30 starts just once in his seven year career.
While him actually taking the ball has been an issue over his career, he’s been very good when he’s on the bump and will be counted on as the team’s No. 2 starter behind Max Scherzer who is as reliable as they come. He’s led the league in wins three of the last four years, is the reigning Cy Young Award winner and has pitched to a 2.88 ERA in his two years on the Nationals.
Scherzer has consistently thrown at least 214 inning for the last four years, but even he has some questions around his finger that’s caused him to alter his grip. He should still have a very good season, but when a pitcher as effective as Scherzer has to make an alteration, it’s worth noting.
After the two aces, this team will go with the always underrated Tanner Roark, the southpaw Gio Gonzalez and the youngster Joe Ross. That’s one of the best rotations one through five though the depth that this team did have in the rotation is gone. In acquiring Adam Eaton from the White Sox in the offseason, the team shipped off three pitching prospects including Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, severely eating into the team’s depth. Now, the sixth starter is A.J. Cole with a huge question mark behind him.
There’s also question in the bullpen as the Nationals swung and missed on the big three closers on the market this offseason. Instead of securing the ninth with a known commodity, Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and Koda Glover are all candidates to get saves as the season goes on. All three are capable set up men, but can they shut the door in the ninth as the major league level?
Even if they can, does the acquisition of Joe Blanton enough to secure the rest of the pen to build the bridge to the trio at the end, regardless of the order they line up in?
For a pitching staff as talented as this one, there sure are still a lot of questions. The same can be said about the lineup. This is a team with answers nearly everywhere, but can Ryan Zimmerman really be the everyday first baseman? How is Eaton going to do moving back to center field when he had terrible sabermetric numbers there defensively in 2015?
In the end, the lineup still sets them apart from their biggest competition in the east: the New York Mets.
Trea Turner proved to be a real difference maker atop the order last year and will return to his natural position of shortstop. That opens the door for Eaton who is another table setter, speed, OBP type guy. Add in the power from Bryce Harper and then very good players across the other positions including Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and the newly acquired Matt Wieters and this lineup looks rather stacked.
While the personnel list is impressive, the holes are pretty well defined. Really, this team comes down to three things: (1) Can the rotation stay relatively healthy and not force the team to dig too deep for replacements? (2) Will one of Kelley, Treinen, Glover win the closer’s job and pitch well in that roles or will the trio at least hold down the fort until the trade deadline? (3) Can Zimmerman produce enough to justify a near-everyday position in the lineup?
April 3-6: vs. Marlins
April 7-9: at Phillies
April 10-12: vs. Cardinals
April 14-16: vs. Phillies
April 18-20: at Braves
April 21-23: at Mets
April 24-27: at Rockies
April 28-30: vs. Mets
The Nationals will open up the season at home against a divisional foes in April, hosting the Marlins. Miami will be a team playing on raw emotion while the womb of the death of Jose Fernandez likely remains open. That could hurt Washington, though the Nats are at home where they’ll have the crowd behind them and this is the opening series where excitement will be high for everyone. On paper, this is a favorable matchup, particularly considering the Marlins’ rotation could be led by the same Edison Volquez who pitched to a 5.37 ERA last year in Kansas City.
The Nationals get a nice start to the season with three of its first four series at home and they get to play four of their first five series against teams that ended 2016 below .500. That almost makes up for a three-city, 10-game road trip that includes a time zone change.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
|Major League Baseball Schedules By Month|
|MLB Betting Schedule||April||May||June||July||August||September||October|
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