WIN A PLAYOFF ROUND
Although we want victory parades on Pennsylvania Avenue, getting the playoff monkey off Washington’s proverbial back is a realistic goal. Over a best-of-seven series against the Dodgers or Cubs, the Nats stand a better chance of grinding out a win and winning their first ever pennant.
But, playoff success involves luck and minimizing mistakes. They also favor teams who are playing better at the moment and not a full season. Unless the Nats steamroll to a 116-win season, no one in the front office will be too upset if they lose in the NLCS.
However, sometimes when you get over the hump, momentum carries over and the ultimate goal is reached. Think 2004 Boston Red Sox and 2016 Cubs. After major adversity, success was not denied.
With fans focused on a World Series, even they can settle deep into Redskins season content getting past the opening round. Some will get angry, but most will take any playoff success.
If healthy, Washington has the depth and talent to win it all. But, injuries were a huge factor the last two Octobers. A healthy Adam Eaton gets them through last year. Stephen Strasburg’s missed start in 2016 might have finished the Dodgers.
Everyone understands the stakes.