By SEAN KINSLOW
“A lock for the National League East Division,” “A World Series favorite,” “One of the best teams in all of baseball,” these are phrases that experts and fans alike used to describe the Washington Nationals before the season began.
The Nats did not win the NL East, meaning there will not be a World Series parade down the streets of Washington, and despite fielding one of the most talented teams in all of Major League Baseball, the Washington Nationals found a way to blow it.
The Nationals started the season slowly which did not help set the winning tone that many successful clubs have. They were, however, able to bounce back and lead the NL East for the mid-part of the season.
A prolonged slump after the All-star break, baseball’s unofficial midway point of the season, ultimately killed the Nationals. The upstart New York Mets took advantage, taking first place in the division and never looking back.
The once NL East locks were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday Sept. 26th.
After being eliminated from having a shot to go to the playoffs, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said “I never thought we’d end up here. Obviously, we’ve underachieved,” Werth said.
“We haven’t played well. We’ve done a lot of things that got us here. But I would’ve never guessed that. I would’ve never thought we’d be sitting here having this conversation with seven or eight games left. Would’ve bet the other way.”
Although, there are many reasons the Nationals lost out, such as severe injuries to several of their best players, a bullpen that struggled all year and a rotation that did not live up to their full potential headline that list.
“I think I said that in February that this could be the last run of this core group of guys,” Werth said.
“It’s got a chance to be drastically different next year, so that’s tough,” Werth said. “This is my fifth year here. Played with these guys, get to know these guys, go to work with these guys every year. You’re basically family.”
2015 was supposed to be the Nationals’ year, and with the way the roster and contracts are set up the team could look very different in 2016.