The title says it all. The Nationals are now a more complete organization.
Four years ago, the Nationals were the laughing stock of the Major Leagues. No one wanted to buy them, people doubted that they would ever be a successful franchise, and they could hardly get an average attendance of 20,000.
A new stadium was built, a fanbase grew, and with the MLB draft year after year, the Nationals are becoming a young, exciting team.
It all started with Zimmerman. By securing a long term deal with a top notch third baseman, the Nationals started to build a franchise. Zimmerman has become a proven third baseman, hitting a career high 33 home runs last season, and building upon that with 11 already in 2010, including 1 tonight in the victory.
The Nats also just drafted Bryce Harper in the 2010 MLB Draft, 1st overall, a widely acclaimed player out of Southern Nevada, who will most likely be in the bigs in the next 3 years as a outfielder.
And then there's this guy, Stephen Strasburg. You've probably heard of him.
He has become one of the most anticipated starting pitchers since Mark Prior and Kerry Wood in Chicago, and The Doc with the Mets. You can even jump into basketball with the debut of LeBron with the Cavs, at the age of 18.
Strasburg never disappointed. Even when he gave up a 2-run home run to Delmon Young in the 4th inning with 2 outs, he still was on his way to a perfectly satisfying start. (The only National fan that he probably disappointed was me, only because he killed my Streak for Cash streak at 6 straight wins.)
Final line : 7IP, 4H, 2ER, 14k's and the win. And no that isn't a typo. He struck out 14 batters. Retired 10 in a row to end his start.
Tyler Clippard, another great Nationals success story, pitched the 8th, allowing 1 hit, and striking out 2. He now has 39 IP on the season with 46 K's and an ERA down to 1.62 in the 'pen.
Matt Capps closed the game 1, 2, 3, increasing his league lead in saves to 19.
The Nationals also broke a team record for most strikeouts in a game with 17 K's.
The best story here isn't the great MLB debut of a future Hall of Famer, or the great performance of the Nationals bullpen, it was the sold out crowd at the Nationals Park. This was the first sold out crowd the Nationals have seen all year. The fans electrified the stadium with energy that made it feel like the Bronx in Fall (Yes I know, cheap Yankees plug).
As Capps stepped on first to get the last out of the game, the crowd erupted, and it was the loudest ovation I've ever heard out of the Nats fans. Not to mention the reaction when he was welcomed with 3 shaving cream pies in the post-game interview.
This could be the turnaround that the team, and the city, needed to become one of the near future contenders, in a tough NL East division.