The MLB season has been postponed. This might be a blessing for the Washington Nationals.
COVID-19 aka the Cornavirus has engulfed the world with over 196,000 cases worldwide. The virus started in China and eventually reached the United States. Despite health warnings, the virus has spread over the US and has now led to drastic changes. Many states are banning public gatherings over a certain amount of people. Many public celebrations, concerts, and events have been canceled. Then the sports world followed suit and seasons were either suspended, postponed, or canceled. The MLB which season which was set to begin the 2020 season on March 20th, has been pushed back. While the health experts battle the virus, the league is uncertain on when Opening Day will be. There have been rumors the season starting in late May all the way to June. Now while this is upsetting, keep in mind, people are dying. This is the safest measure, as we are in a World Pandemic. The season being pushed back might be a blessing in disguise, especially for the Washington Nationals.
Why the Nationals will prosper the most from the delayed season
The Nationals won the Franchise’s first-ever World Series in 2019. The team was pushed to their limit and are still recovering from the grueling playoff run. The team’s bullpen was a dumpster fire outside of Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson. With few relievers manager Davey Martinez could trust in the postseason, starters such as Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin, all pitched out of the bullpen. Trea Turner was playing with nine fingers, Ryan Zimmerman was run down from the multiple injuries he suffered during the season. Howie Kendrick was on the wrong side of 30 and only a year removed from his Achilles injury. So when the Nationals swept the St. Louis Cardinals and had six days before the World Series started, they were secretly ecstatic.
In 1985, the League Champions Series (LCS) changed the playoff format to the best of seven. Since then, nine teams have swept their opponent in the LCS. Only two of those teams have gone on to win the World Series. The 1995 Atlanta Braves and the 2019 Washington Nationals. When Washington reached the World Series, baseball analysts were worried the extended time off would hurt the club. Instead, the six days rejuvenated the veteran team. After all, the 2019 Nationals were the oldest team in the league (30.1). In the clubhouse, the veterans called themselves Los Viejos, the old guys. The team looked forward to the rest and it paid off in the end.
Fast-forward to now, and the team is still recovering from their World Series run. Washington and Houston, had the shortest off-season, due to the fact they played deep into October. Max Scherzer is suffering from fatigue and will benefit from the extra rest. Scherzer was placed on the IL for the first time in his career in 2019. He missed the majority of the second half and was scratched from starting Game Five of the World Series. Thanks to a cortisone shot, he was able to start in-game seven. The extra recovery period is crucial to Scherzer avoiding any further injuries. Turner underwent off-season surgery to fix his broken finger and the extra time to recuperate won’t hurt. Strasburg through over 200 innings in a season for the first time since 2014. He continued his heavy workload into the playoffs making six total appearances. The World Series MVP is known for his injury history and has yet, to stay healthy two seasons in a row since 2013-2014.
The Nationals enter the season with the majority of the World Series team still intact. Despite the loss of Anthony Rendon, Washington is in a position to go another deep run. The delayed season will only benefit the team. The extra time will allow the players to receive extra rest while mending from their off-season surgeries.