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FEAR THE NATS! (I’m seriously not joking here!)

The boys are back! Well, sort of. The one boy who matters is on his way back – Stephen Strasburg. So, N.L. East, hold on to your bats, because in 2012 – FEAR THE NATIS!

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Okay, I get it. That sounds like it’s coming from 100% dreamland. But first, think about the pitching. Strasburg is blowing by batters with fastballs in the upper 90s in Triple-A, and a 2011 return is extremely likely. Strasmas II, as we Nats fans would call it. Then, once Jordan Zimmerman is completely recovered from Tommy John surgery (no innings limit!), watch out NYC, because there’s going to be a new Jay-Z on the scene.

Plus, in the 2012 season, the Nats lineup might be a little for opposing pitchers. You’ve got star rookie Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman, finding a hole in this guy’s swing is like finding a needle in a haystack. Plus, add on slugger Michael Morse, who has 26 homers and is batting .315 through September 5. Also, Bryce Harper should come in around June or July next season, and Jayson Werth can’t play this badly forever – in fact, since the all star break, he’s been hitting a much more respectable .262. Even with a four- or five-headed pitching monster, it’s going to be pretty hard to stop these guys from hitting their way to victory.

Now are you convinced? If you don’t find this part convincing, then you are definitely a Phillies, Mets, Braves, or Marlins fan. The truth is, the Nationals are not a horrible team this year! They have 65 wins right now, and last year they had 69 wins overall! That means they’re on pace for 76 wins this year, pretty darn close to .500. Add in Strasburg, Harper, the Zimmermans for a full season, and you’ve got a contending playoff team! (Although the Wild Card is much more likely in that division.) Plus, with the potential for a second Wild Card in the playoffs next year, the Nats would have even more chances at their first playoff berth.

So, you might be laughing now, but between now and next year a lot can happen! Who would’ve thought the Diamondbacks would be four games ahead of the world champion Giants at this point in the season? So, call me a crazy dreamer, but come back to this in September 2012 and we’ll see the standings.

Next year, when you’re making your World Series picks, you shouldn’t be counting the Nats out and picking the Phillies. As Brian Wilson said about the Giants’ repeating as World Series champs, “Mark it down!”.... and FEAR THE NATS!