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Washington Nationals Betting – Nationals Have Promising Pieces In Place But Could Become Lost In Crowded NL East

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 3/28/2012 4:13:36 PM
washington nationals betting

After finishing the 2011 regular season with an 80-81 record, the Washington Nationals made a couple of strong additions to their bullpen this past offseason, which in correlation with the arrival of Stephen Strasburg has baseball fans in the nation’s capital feeling optimistic about the coming year. In addition to Strasburg pitching his first complete professional season, Gio Gonzalez has come over from the Oakland Athletics to throw behind him at the top of the rotation, with Edwin Jackson also occupying a spot in the top-five. The Nationals feel they have done enough to be considered a legitimate sports betting contender this season, and with the season set to get underway, there are definitely some promising pieces in place.

The pitching is the biggest area where the Nationals are expected to show improvement, and the trio of Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Jackson are the biggest reasons for it. Washington’s starting pitchers combined for a 3.80 ERA and 1.32 WHIP last season, which isn’t that bad considering that they managed just 79 quality starts. One of the biggest problems was the team’s inability to strike out hitters, but those numbers have been reviewed by the sites listed on the sportsbook docket, and should change with Strasburg and Jackson in particular. The Nationals’ bullpen had a 3.20 ERA, which ranked fourth in the National League, and returns closer Drew Storen and setup man Tyler Clippard, so they should be fine in that department.

As for the offense, Washington was certainly not among the elite MLB teams in terms of numbers, with its 624 runs and .242 team batting average both ranking near the bottom of the National League. With Bryce Harper set to start the season in Triple-A after failing to land a spot with the team out of spring training, the Nationals will need to rely on improvement from within, and that includes the health of a couple of key players in Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. Werth was a bust in his first season with the club after inking a long-term deal in the offseason, and will be expected to bounce back, while Zimmerman will need to be healthy for the full year after missing some time with an abdominal strain. Michael Morse hit .304 with 31 home runs on the year, and was consistent all the way through, so Washington has to believe that they he will be just as good this year.

While we won’t go as far as to believe Brad Lidge’s comments about this being the most talented team that he has ever been a part of, there is some stock to be found in how much at least on paper this club has improved. The Nationals went out and signed the arms they needed to complete their starting rotation, and with Strasburg finally ready for the spotlight in the nation’s capital, there is some real promise there. But with Harper not ready for a full season just yet, and the Miami Marlins also making a splash in the offseason in an already crowded NL East division that features the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves at the top, it could still be another year before Washington can be considered a legitimate sports bet betting option as a potential playoff team.



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