A month into the season the Nationals and Dodgers may be co-favorites to win the World Series, but they’re trending in two different directions.
The Washington Nationals opened as the lone favorite at +500 but a slow start has brought them back to the pack. Washington lost six of its first eight games and has struggled to push runs across since then. The Nationals are currently hitting just .235 as a team with 215 strikeouts, third-most in the bigs.
They may have won five of six, but that streak has the Nats at just 12-14 heading into a three-game set against Miami, despite the fact that the club’s pitching ranks eighth in ERA and sixth in quality starts.
“We would certainly like to score more than one to help ’em out,” National manager Matt Williams told reporters of his pitching staff. “They can keep another team down and give us opportunities. That’s great. It gives guys confidence on the offensive side if the guys are gonna pitch well and keep us in a game.”
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, just about everything has gone right for the Dodgers. They lead the NL West standings with a 16-8 record thanks to a good combination of pitching and hitting. Los Angeles’ pitching staff ranks in the top five in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts and just one team has more than the 38 homers the Dodgers have hammered so far.
“It’s about winning ballgames,” Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson told reporters recently. “We’re playing great baseball and it’s fun to be a part of. I don’t feel that anyone needs to put the team on their back. If someone doesn’t do the job, the next person behind them will pick them up. That’s part of being a great team.”