Washington Nationals: How the NL East was won

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 09: Howie Kendrick /
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At one point in August, 13 players were on the disabled list. There were games where none of the Opening Day outfielders were on the active roster. Bryce Harper’s knee injury made fans gasp and weep. Five players remain on the 60-day disabled list.

Washington clinched the division with the biggest margin and the earliest time in franchise history. How can any team lose so many players and win going away?

When pressed into signing players to fill depth, credit general manager Mike Rizzo for grabbing players flying under the radar and a minor league system good at developing players. A whopping 49 players wore a Nats uniform this season and all of them played a part of this championship, even poor Jeremy Guthrie.

Wilmer Difo and Michael Taylor answered the call and critics by delivering outstanding play on offense and defense. Ryan Raburn filled in left field effectively. The July trade for Howie Kendrick was pure genius and who will ever forget Brian Goodwin’s constant electric smiles.

With superstars such as Harper, Scherzer and Murphy grabbing headlines, clutch plays by Alejandro De Aza and Andrew Stevenson kept the Nats in games. Adam Lind’s pinch-hitting abilities are so good, they merited an individual sentence.

Injuries to the Mets, particularly their pitching, destroyed their season. Under the immense pressure of trying to repeat and the sheer number of players hurt, Washington easily could have gone the same way.

The resilience of these Nats is the story of the year. If we were at the end of the season battling for October, you could understand. To wrap everything up with three weeks left is stunning.