Six Things We Learned About the Nationals From the First 10 Games

The 2018 season is about 8% complete but that isn’t stopping us from completely overreacting to the first 2 weeks of the season and projecting 10 things we learned about the team during this opening stretch that will likely continue throughout the season.

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  1. Max Scherzer is good.

I swear the rest of these won’t be as obvious. But come on, for starters (pun intended), this guy has been incredible. Outside of one wayward, mediocre, decent for any other pitcher start this guy has been completely dominant and unhittable. In 3 starts, Max has a .90 ERA, 20 innings pitched, 27 strikeouts, and .80 WHIP. Throw in a complete game 2 hitter as the team looked to bounce back from a 5 game losing streak and therein lies the reason this team will be in the hunt for the entire season. Any time you can put a guy like Max on the hill every 5th day, you’re going to be contending come September.

  1. Bryce Harper will be on base A LOT.

We’ve always known about the power Bryce possesses at the plate. But what is making Harper an early candidate for MVP is his patience at the plate so far and ability to get on base at all costs. In 10 games, Bryce has a .333 average, .529 OBP, and 1.408 OPS. Not to mention he’s doing that while leading the MLB in home runs at 6. If he continues this, Bryce will provide ample opportunities for guys behind him to drive in runs this season and prove to be the MVP candidate we all are rooting for him to be.

  1. Stephen Strasburg has taken the next step in his ascent to dominance.

The stuff has always been there. Nasty slider, unhittable changeup, and overpowering fastball. But for years, it always seemed that something was missing. Maybe it was mental, maybe injury related. But now, Strasburg seems to have put whatever was ailing him behind and he is showing signs of complete dominance. Since last year’s All-Star break, Strasburg has a 1.17 ERA, best in MLB during that span. If he continues performing like this, he’ll be battling his teammate for the NL Cy Young award.

  1. Adam Eaton’s injury struggles will be an ongoing story

Nobody got off to a hotter start than Eaton this season. Winning NL Player of the Week in his first week back from a gruesome knee injury was vindication that he was fully healed and back to the Mighty Mouse we all knew and loved. But since then, Eaton has slowed down and nagging injuries have crept back, forcing him to be placed on the DL yesterday. Who knows if this is just a minor setback and totally unrelated to the ACL surgery. But it was pretty obvious that even while Eaton was playing so well, he didn’t look fully healthy and one must wonder whether he ever will be back to 100%.

  1. We need to see more Pedro Severino in the lineup.

Just today, it was announced that Matt Witer shad been activated back on to the roster after his injury and Miguel Montero has been designated for assignment. While that’s a tough way for Montero to return to the team following the birth of his child, anyone watching can see that Severino has provided a spark both offensively and defensively to the ball club. His constant energy and bounce behind the plate is contagious and his ability to give quality at bats in the bottom of the lineup has been invaluable in creating more scoring chances. We’ll see if Wieters returns and is able to get his bat going. But if not, Davey should have a short leash and give more opportunities for Severino to shine.

  1. The Mets will be a thorn in our side the entire season.

Let’s be real. That opening series hurt if you’re a Nats fan. Getting swept at home during the opening weekend of games, including an extra inning gut punch game on national television sucks. Worst of all, that didn’t seem like a fluke. That felt like an above average team with more than above average pitching coming to town and showing the division champs that they will be around all season and striking blood first. Now, it’s not cause to completely overreact but rather to acknowledge that this is going to be a long season and a dogfight with the Mets awaits for the division. But after 8% of the season, I still like what I’ve seen so far and think the next 92% will be better.

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