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Slugger Mike Morse just returned to the Washington lineup this weekend.
The Washington Nationals were one of the early surprises of the 2012 season as they jumped out to a quick lead in the NL East in the first couple of weeks of the season. Little has changed since then, as the team is still tied for first in the NL East.
The Nationals pitching staff has been great, led by young ace Stephen Strasburg and followed by Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson and Jordan Zimmerman they have been the best staff in baseball. The Nationals biggest issue with their rotation is finding the right way to use Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler and John Lannan as the final starter.
The bullpen has been very strong with Sean Burnett, Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus pitching very well this year. However the spring injury to closer Drew Storen has the Nationals trying to find a replacement, which they have not been having much success with yet.
The lineup has done enough to get the job done with Mike Morse missing all of the first two months of the year and Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos suffering season-ending injuries. That's because guys like Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond have stepped up and young Bryce Harper has been great so far.
Chance of winning NL East-50%
The Nationals have the same chance to win as the Marlins. That is because the Nationals lineup lacks something right now, Stephen Strasburg is likely to be shut down when he hits 160 innings pitched and it isn't known exactly when Storen will return to solve the closer puzzle.
Still the Nationals have the best rotation in the division right now and a very strong bullpen, other than closer. If Ryan Zimmerman can turn it up, Mike Morse plays like the guy we watched in 2011 and Bryce Harper doesn't hit the rookie wall, the Nationals have a good shot at winning the NL East.