by Aaron Jaffe ’21
Last year’s World Series was nothing short of a vintage performance with the Houston Astros defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ultimate nail-biter in all of sports, game 7. The series went back and forth between the two teams who have combined for 84 years without a ring. The Astros ended up taking the decisive game 7 in L.A. and also bringing home the organization’s first championship. If it weren’t for a couple a bad outings for then Dodger pitcher, Yu Darvish, maybe L.A. would’ve gotten their first World Series win since 1988.
Opening Day has come and gone and there are still many things to look for in the 2018 season. Surprisingly enough, the New York Mets and Boston Red Soxs have gotten an early lead in the league. Other than that, there has been a plethora of teams close behind. That includes the Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates. With every hot start team comes a couple that stumble out of the gate. The Miami Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, and Tampa Bay Rays all have only managed to win 2 or 3 out of the first 12 games played. But the beauty of baseball is that over the course of six months and 162 games, I’m sure plenty will change.
All teams start the year 0-0 which technically means they all are in the playoff hunt. To decipher the men from the boys you really have to look at a team’s outlook and roster talent. Sure, a team like the Atlanta Braves is sitting middle of the pack as of opening week, but by the time the dog days of August roll around, don’t be surprised to see them at the bottom of the league. At the end of the year, the playoff teams will likely be the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and maybe one or two
suprise wild card teams like the Minnesota Twins last year.
The Nationals have benefitted from the return of outfielder Adam Eaton, who missed almost all of last season with an ACL tear. Eaton was acquired from the Chicago White Sox during the 2016 offseason for an abundance of prospects but in early April of the 2017 season, he slipped over first base and sat on the disabled list for the rest of the year. His return has helped the already stacked Nats lineup one of the best (if not the best) in the MLB. And of course superstar outfielder Bryce Harper has already looked to regain MVP form as he he’s hitting .286 batting average with 6 home runs, 12 runs batted and owning a .467 on-base percentage in while also leading the MLB in walks. The starters have been dominant with back to back reigning Cy Young, the award given to the best pitcher of the season, winner Max Scherzer going for multiple 10 K’s games and Cy Young candidate Stephen Strasburg with some strong outings as well.
For the true D.C. fans, everyone knows that really doesn’t matter. The team needs to get over the first round playoff hump they have been stuck on for years. The problems they face go deeper than just roster flaws. Bad calls, missed opportunities, and many other factors–like the D.C. curse–have played into their playoff struggles. The curse has kept any major sports Washington teams from winning a championship since 1992. Whether or not it’s true, it something the local fans can blame for the constant disappointment. However, with new manager Davey Martinez, the Nats and their fans should be excited for what the future holds for them because Martinez is the kind of guy a World Series contending team needs with the modern style of play he implements.