With big off season moves, the impending debut of Bryce Harper, and the momentum the Nats took into the off season at the end of 2011, everyone was expecting an improvement. To say anyone expected the Nats being in first place at the All-Star Break (and having been in that position most of the year) would be crazy.
Yet that’s where we stand. The Nats are not only first in the NL East, but they have the best record in the National League at the halfway point of the season. Here’s a look at what the top stories of 2012 have been.
The Nats bet the farm on Gio Gonzalez in a monster trade this past winter, but boy has it paid off. The arrival of Gonzalez, coupled with the full seasons of Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, has created a dominant starting rotation that has accumulated the lowest ERA is baseball.
The addition of Edwin Jackson has added consistency to the rotation as well, and whether it is Chien-Ming Wang or Ross Detwiler in the fifth spot, it has been strong up and down. That’s good, since the Nats’ offense has been inconsistent at best.
Holy Frirst-Aid Batman. The Nats have suffered several key injuries early in the season, including injuries to Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Wilson Ramos (season ending), Jayson Werth, and Chien-Ming Wang.
It really would be easier just to name who hasn’t been injured at all this season, but Ian Desmond stepped up to the plate (so to speak) and has been consistently leading the offense all year in their absence.
The Nats pushed through the pain and found a way to get it done, even with the offense being hit hardest with these injuries. Now that the lineup is returning, it will be great to see how the team could separate itself in the second half.
Many (myself included) didn’t think it would happen as fast as it did. Bryce Harper still needed seasoning at AAA, we thought. So did the Nats, who didn’t think they were going to call him up until he had a couple hundred AAA at-bats.
The before mentioned injuries had other plans. The Nats needed to press their young star into action sooner than planned, and boy did he deliver. He is the youngest position player to ever make the All-Star Game, and his offense has really helped the Nats continue their success.
The rest are clown questions, bro.