Get ready for October with a rundown of the Nationals' season
The Nationals have never won back-to-back division championships. So, in a way, the team has already made history. With a lineup filled with sluggers and a rotation brimming with talent, fans are hoping that this will be the year the team finally advances beyond the Division Series. The quest begins on Friday against the Cubs at 7:30 p.m. ET at Nationals Park on TBS.
Need a refresher on what makes the Nationals special? Then read on.
While Bryce Harper and his ever-changing, always glorious hair is one of the biggest stars in the game, he played in just over 100 games this year. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer followed up on his Cy Young Award with, well, another fantastic season.
When not screaming to the heavens mid-start, the hypercompetitive pitcher has actually been better than last year. He's striking out more batters, giving up fewer hits and he's lowered his ERA by nearly half a run.
If it weren't for this strange bounce too, he might have even added to his no-hitter collection:
Under the radar star: Matt Albers
Beyond posting a career-best ERA+ of 258, Albers made history when, after 12 seasons and 102 games finished, he recorded his very first save.
Oddly enough, when Albers enters a game this October, it will also be his first postseason appearance. Though, with Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson around, it probably won't be in a save situation.
Want to make a statement? How about going against a division rival and scoring a seemingly unending torrent of runs? That's what the Nats did against the Mets on April 30 -- defeating New York, 23-5 .
Every starting position player had at least two hits -- except for Trea Turner, who "only" had one. The team collected 23 hits in total -- somehow leaving 13 men on base -- and bashed out seven home runs. Anthony Rendon led the way with six hits, three homers and 10 RBIs. Not bad.
In another Nationals blowout -- this time a 15-2 victory over the Brewers -- the Nationals smashed five home runs in a single inning. What strange magics had overtaken the field to allow this unstoppable display of bash and fury?
No spoken language can accurately convey his name and power, so we simply call him ... the rally pigeon.
Will he return for the postseason and lead the team to glory? Is he an eldritch god that loves dingers? No one knows.
But that's just one person's opinion: For another take on the Nationals' season, check out the Cespedes Family BBQ video at the top of the post.