Washington Nationals News: Despite start, NL East race is marathon affair


Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Check out some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Richard Justice discusses the NL East and how the events of the last few days won’t have much of an impact on how the standings look at the end of the season. As Justice notes, the division has started off a bit differently than many expected, with the Mets taking two games against the Nationals and the Braves sweeping the Marlins.

Baseball is a 162-game season, and yet there’s been an absurd amount of speculation as to whether the first three games of the season show that everyone was “wrong” about the Nationals. That simply isn’t true. It’s way, way, way too early to jump to any conclusions about the Nationals, or about any other team, for that matter.

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As Justice notes in his article, the battle for the NL East crown is a marathon, not a sprint. Baseball is a game of endurance and projections. Regardless of what happens early in the season, the Nationals are the team that is best built to endure the rigors of a season of all the teams in the division. Yes, the Nationals are projected to run away with the division and that comes with a lot of pressure and room for disappointment. But it’s important to remember that there’s a reason for that projection: they are, by far, the best team.

So, there’s no reason to worry about the first few games of the season. I still fully expect the Nationals to win the division with ease, though a challenge from the Marlins early on is not out of the question. Could I be totally wrong about that? Of course. For all we know, the Phillies could win the division. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No. But if the Nationals fail to meet expectations and don’t make it back to the postseason, it definitely won’t be because of the first three games of the season.

Also in today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes gives an update on the status of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is on the disabled list with a sprained MCL. As Janes notes, Rendon is making progress in his recovery and has been doing a variety of exercises to get his knee to where he needs it to be.

Needless to say, this is great news for the Nationals. The Nationals’ offense scored a total of six runs in their opening series against the Mets, and there’s no doubt that Rendon’s bat has been greatly missed.

Be sure to checkout the articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Despite start, NL East race is marathon affair

(Richard Justice, MLB.com)

WASHINGTON — So should we look at the National League East race any differently than we did, say, a week ago?

Absolutely not. Nothing has changed even with Matt Harvey at his 98-mph best on Thursday afternoon.

Nothing has changed despite the Braves being 3-0 and the Marlins 0-3. And nothing has changed despite the heavily favored Nationals stumbling a bit out of the gate.

First, there’s Harvey. In his first regular season start in almost 600 days, he tossed six shutout innings and struck out nine in a 6-3 Mets victory. Read full article here.

Matt Williams on Anthony Rendon injury: ‘It could turn quickly’

(Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)

Anthony Rendon has been running straight ahead for a few weeks now. Yesterday, he moved laterally . He even did some figure-eight-type movements, the kind that require plants and shuffles. The news resembles a recap of a dance recital, something hardly worth a headline, except that those are the type of movements that have caused Rendon and the sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee trouble in the past.

A few side-to-side shuffles does not beget an imminent return, but it does mark progress. If all goes well, Rendon will begin “modified groundball activity,” said Nationals Manager Matt Williams, defining that nebulous notion as “just making sure that he’s getting into the position he needs to get into without irritating the area.”

So the progress is slow, but it’s progress. If modified ground ball activity goes well, Rendon can move on to full-fledged ground ball activity — which would consist of fielding them — and then to hitting and the rest. Read full article here.

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