How Good Are the Nats?

They are good enough to possibly win the NL-East division.  But the Mets seem to have all their starting pitchers healthy and also have a chance to win it.  The Braves and Phillies are better.  So this division is up for grabs.  The Nats are slightly better now than they were at this time last year, but not by much.

They need the following: a 5th starter and a stronger bullpen.  Their starting pitcher depth is not strong at all; they have Hellickson and Jackson who are nearing the end of journeyman careers, and they have A.J. Cole and other AAA arms who are not ready for The Show.

Are they ready for October?  Not really.  To get past the first round of the playoffs they need to acquire a stronger #3 starter; Gio has never won a game in the playoffs.  The Nats need to do what the Astros did last year at the trade deadline, go get a starting pitcher who can win playoff games.  In addition they need to upgrade the bullpen by 2 better arms than they now have.  As the season plays out up to the trade deadline and some teams realize they are not going to be playing in October, candidates for the above needs will likely appear on  the market.

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A Good Start For 2018

Sweeping Cincinnati gave the Nats a great start to the new season.  In general the pitching, defense, hitting and base-running have looked pretty good.  Adam Eaton has been phenomenal as he played a major role in getting the Nats on the scoreboard in the first inning of each road game.  That is huge in any away from home series, but to start the season in this way, and with a new manager, can pay dividends in so many ways.  For sure the starting pitchers love that!

I strongly support Dave Martinez batting Trea Turner down in the order.  With his penchant for swinging at anything near the plate, not working the count and resistance to bunting, he does not belong near the top of the order.  I hope the new hitting instructor will help him with a more productive and mature approach to hitting.  Turner played a leading role in ensuring the Nats failed to get past the first round last October.