CHICAGO — The optimist will look at the fact the Nationals are tied for first place, with the best pitching staff in baseball, sporting a +39 run differential despite the fact they had their full, Opening Day lineup together for all of seven innings … on Opening Day.
The pessimist will look at the fact the Nationals are in the bottom half of the majors in runs scored, with a bunch of veteran regulars having been unable to sustain success, and question how this team can reach the playoffs (or perhaps even more) with a lineup that figures to feature a lot of moving parts over the next three months … not to mention some major defensive question marks.
So, what to make of this team at the official halfway point of the season? Through 81 games, the Nationals are 43-38, tied with the Braves atop the NL East. Plenty of clubs would love to be in their position. The Nats, though, would love to be in better position.