Washington Nationals: Five Reasons They Won NL East
By Ron Juckett
DESTROYING THE NL EAST
When MLB realigned a few years ago giving all six divisions five teams, the schedule dictated you play 76 of your 162 games within the division.
Sometimes, that can hurt you if the division is loaded with talent. For the Nationals in 2016, it was a recipe for domination. With three games left against Miami, the Nats are 49-24 against the rest of the NL East. Against the rest of baseball, they are 41-40. Only Miami has the chance to post a winning record against Washington in the division.
Unlike last year, the Nats took care of business against the Mets, going 12-4. They owned the Atlanta Braves at 15-4 and the Philadelphia Phillies at 14-5. All four opponents showed signs of life during the year, but Washington was the stronger team. They outscored their rivals by 101 runs.
After how the end of 2015 played out, especially with the Mets, the Nationals refocused this year and put more focus and energy within the East. Some of their success came on how bad the Phillies and Braves played, but Nats won two-of-three games in the entire division.
Whatever the final margin is over the Mets and Marlins come season’s end, the Nationals ran away and hid from their fiercest rivals all year.