Guess the Nationals Should Have Used Stephen Strasburg in the 2012 Postseason, Huh?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington NationalsThree games under .500.

Fourteen and a half games behind the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.

Eight games out of the Wild Card spot with 45 games left in the season.

The Washington Nationals (57-60), everyone’s favorite to reach the World Series back in March, are dangerously close to missing the 2013 postseason. Sure, Davey Johnson’s team could mount an incredible Tampa-like comeback over the last month and a half, but right now they’ve only got a 3.1 percent shot of making the postseason, according to Baseball Prospectus. Fangraphs projects the Nationals to miss the playoffs. The Nationals, who were 8:1 to win the World Series in Spring Training, are now 50:1.

It’s been a combination of things – injuries (Bryce Harper), sluggish bats (all the slash categories are down significantly from 2012), and a pitching staff that hasn’t been nearly as formidable as it was in 2012. It hasn’t helped that the Atlanta Braves are currently the best team in baseball (72 wins), the Pittsburgh Pirates have awoken from a 20-year slumber (70 wins) and the Los Angeles Dodgers are on one of the hottest streaks in franchise history (37 wins in 45 games).

At some point later this month, when the Nationals officially get eliminated from the postseason, the talk will turn back to the 2012 postseason, when Washington made the idiotic decision to shut down their ace, Stephen Strasburg. They wanted to protect his prized arm. The topic was heavily debated in Washington – perhaps even between Rizzo and Johnson – and the Nationals ended up losing to St. Louis in the division series, 3-2.

Ahhhh, what might have been.

Hey, there’s always 2014, right? The good news is, Washington’s core of Strasburg, Harper, Gonzalez, etc are all locked in for a few more years (before the two first guys move to the Yankees in lucrative fashion, right, Scott Boras?). The bad news? The Dodgers have more talent, the Braves might, too, and the Cardinals are the Cardinals. And if the Mets find some bats …

Related: Ryan Zimmerman: Nerds Are Wasting Time with PECOTA Because Hey, Things Happen
Related: Davey Johnson Jokes, ‘I May Slit My Wrists, But I’m Not Quitting,’ Following Nats Fifth-Straight Loss

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