Who recalls the time when the Washington Nationals were the joke of baseball? How the tables have turned.
The Washington Nationals' first postseason bid dominated headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yes, it was cool to see the champagne bath and all the stories about Bryce Harper's alternate form of celebration, but we're getting away from the real reason to celebrate.
In franchise history, this is the second time the Nats' have won a divisional crown. The last time was in 1981, when the formerly known Montreal Expos won the NL East.
After a 80-81 campaign last season, and a 69-93 season in 2010, the Nats' have a reason to celebrate.
And the celebration may last longer in the playoffs. This is a team that could go all the way. We're not just talking about a appearance in the NLCS appearance, but possibly even further.
Can anyone say World Series? Here are a few reasons why the Nats are sure to make some noise in the postseason.
The Nats' have a great starting rotation. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler make up one of the more deeper units in the league.
Gonzalez is a CY Young contender and Zimmerman has proven to be a trusted contributor (even at times looking better than Gonzalez).
Detwiler may not play much in the postseason, but he is a solid backup to have in case of injuries. Likely, the Nats' will go with a rotation of Gonzalez, Zimmerman and Jackson.
This 19-year-old prodigy has been killing it in September. Harper is on fire and will likely continue his brilliance in the playoffs.
With Strasburg likely out for the postseason, Harper is the most important player for the Nats.
His statistics in September? The All-Star rookie hit .330/.402/.651 with 14 RBI and seven homers.
Is insane the word you're looking for? If Harper could continue this type of production in the postseason, watch out opposing pitchers.
The Nationals bullpen deserves some recognition, but I went with Johnson instead.
How sweet is success for the Nationals after so many down seasons? Johnson was there in 2009, so he can relate.
He has this sense of calmness and control that many mangers don't have. More importantly, Johnson knows when to push his players.
This is a relatively inexperienced group in terms of playoff experience. Johnson's presence should help guide them through the challenges of October.