The Washington Nationals have endured a lot through the first five weeks of the season, and despite it all, they find themselves over .500 and contending in the National League East.
They have weathered Ryan Zimmerman's troubles, Stephen Strasburg's 1-4 record and a losing month of April.
Despite it all, they are well in line to make things interesting in the NL East.
The Nats are in good position so far, but is this team destined to make a run deep in to the playoffs this season?
Let's take a look at why the Nationals are the NL's team of destiny this season.
The Nationals are getting it done on the field, even if it means only by a hair.
The Nats have gone 5-2 in one-run games this season, which might be due to the depth of their bullpen and talent of their starting five, but nonetheless is a pivotal element of a playoff-caliber team.
Last season, the Baltimore Orioles made it a habit of winning one-run games and were rewarded with a trip to the playoffs. If the Nats continue to find success in this department, they too will be heading to the playoffs once again.
Despite the Nationals finishing the first month of the season at .500, they were able to keep close to the Atlanta Braves and cut the deficit to just two games one week into May.
The Nationals are keeping it close and keeping hope alive for a race in the later months of the season.
Entering Monday, the Nationals were the only first- or second-place team to be in their respective spot within the division with a negative run differential.
The Nats have scored 113 while allowing 125, a differential of minus-12.
Most of the time the numbers are very telling, but in this case it is a bit mind-boggling.
The next closest second-place team is the New York Yankees with a plus-10 differential. This shows that the Nationals should be in a worse spot than they are at this point, and since they aren't, they are heading in the right direction.
The Washington Nationals have one of the best starting staffs in all of baseball, even if they have not lived up to their potential yet.
With Strasburg's abysmal record and Gio Gonzalez struggling to find himself this year, the Nationals are in line to see the best of these players in the months to come.
The Nats are in second place without either of their staff aces having done well so far—meaning they are in prime position to move up in the standings when these two do come around.
The Nats are always going to have to deal with Ryan Zimmerman's injury issues, and they did a great job of finding guys to fill in for him while he was on the DL earlier this season.
The tandem of Anthony Rendon and Steve Lombardozzi give the Nats the ability to hold their ground, if need be, for Zimmerman to get healthy later in the season for a playoff run.