The 2015 season ended with a very upsetting conclusion for the Nationals and their fans. Washington finished with a 83-79 record, and while it was good for second in the NL East, it was not sufficient enough evidence to keep manager Matt Williams and the rest of the coaching staff around. Williams and the entire staff were let go at the end of the season which left the door open for a legenary manager to step in and take his place. Three-time Manager of the Year Dusty Baker was hired in the offseason to steer the ship for the Nats.
With one of the most talented lineups in all of baseball, Baker has some high expectations for 2016 placed on him to not only win the NL East, but also make a World Series run.
The showcase piece for the Nationals lineup, unless you have been living under a rock, is outfielder Bryce Harper. Last year in 2015, Harper had his finest season to date as he brought home a plethora of awards. He won his first MVP award (by unanimous selection), was the NL home run co-leader and also brought home his first Silver Slugger Award. Harper is the focal point of the Nationals lineup but also has the some other bats to back him up.
Veteran Nationals mainstays Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman return for the 2016 season and are joined by newcomer Daniel Murphy, who was the NLCS MVP and the Mets 2015 playoff hero.
The Nationals pitching staff, in the form of Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, features one of the strongest 1-2 punches. The former was the NL strikeout leader in 2014, the latter was the AL Cy Young winner in 2013 for the Detroit Tigers.
If both can stay healthy, the Nationals have a strong shot at unseating the Mets for the divisional crown. With a strong top-end to their pitching rotation, Washington also features one of the best closers of the last 10 years in Jonathan Papelbon. The 35-year old, while definitely approaching the twilight of his career, still has some gas left in the tank, evidenced by being named to his sixth All-Star team in 2015 and his first since 2012.
Best Washington Nationals Betting Lines
For a quick and convenient look at who the Nationals are playing next, the breakout box will have you covered with any updates on each game.
This tool will help you decipher who Washington is matching up against and what kinds odds the Nats are getting.
Washington Nationals Regular Season Schedule
For a broad overview of each game the Nationals will play during the season, touch base with the breakout box tool below to see which games are on tap.
This function will give you an idea of how well Washington has been playing against each team during the season and also how well they are playing as of late.
For optimal use of this tool, check out how the Nationals have played against an upcoming opponent if they have matched up prior to that game.
Washington Nationals Regular Season Standings
Akin to the schedule tool above, the standings function will give you an overview of how each team in the National League has been performing that particular season.
This function will lay out how the Nationals stack up with the other teams in the NL and you should also make a note to see how the other teams in the NL East are playing as well.
Online Tips For Washington Nationals Bettors
Finishing with a record of 83-79 in 2015 was a big disappointment for the Nationals, but taking a closer look at the stats from last season will paint a better picture on why Washington struggled.
Scherzer (14-12, 2.79 ERA) and Strasburg (11-7, 3.46 ERA) had decent years, but where the Nats really struggled was with a lack of consistent batting at the top of their lineup.
Shortstop Ian Desmond was let go in the offseason and centerfielder Michael Taylor (.229 batting average in 2015) needs to make big strides this year. Another player to watch out for is third baseman Yunel Escobar who quietly was the second-most consistent player on the team in 2015 (.314 batting average and 56 RBIs).
Beyond Harper and Escobar, the Nationals have struggled to find another hitter who can consistently bat above .300. They believe that Murphy can be the key, but the 2014 All-Star might be a long shot to repeat his 2015 playoff magic on a consistent basis. Murphy has been on a tear, thoug, as he has been batting around .400 through with a quarter of the season nearly finished.
So far the Nationals have been cruising along in 2016, even with Harper being suspended for one game. However, only one player on the team (Murphy) has been batting above .300, but Harper has dished in with one of the highest totals in home runs and RBIs to offset the inconsistent hitting.
Also, Strasburg has lived up to his All-Star billing by starting the season with a 6-0 record. It remains to be seen if he can keep this pace but the Nationals pitching staff has performed at a top level so far in 2016.
Finally, before you make your bet, make sure to peruse the breakout table below to find the best fit.