PITCHING WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Although the focus most of the year on the mound was on the bullpen and injuries, the Nats carry the best ERA in the NL outside the Pacific Time Zone. At 3.84, the margin is a half-run better than the rest of the league. The difference between the Mets and Braves is nearly a full run.
Max Scherzer started the year as the reigning Cy Young Award winner. He is the odds-on favorite to repeat. Stephen Strasburg owns the franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings with 34. Gio Gonzalez—well, what can you say about him—has thrown the season of his life.
Despite tight forearms, cranky necks and leg cramps, the Nats support their starters and they deliver. The main rotation has contributed 73 wins to the cause. Three starters carry an ERA under 3.00 and WHIP’s under 1.150.
Once Washington traded for bullpen help, the team relaxed. Leads—precarious as a mountain road in dark fog—stabilized with the addition of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Where would the Nats be without Mat Albers and his steady presence?
There is an outside chance Washington has four 15-game winners with Tanner Roark joining the big three. Poo-poo wins all you want, that is a huge deal.
You knew this staff was good, and they delivered in spades.