WASHINGTON — What if I told you in mid-February that the Washington Nationals would make an incredible run in October, but lose in the World Series?
Would you be more happy with the dramatic improvement (winning at least one playoff series and the National League pennant), or more disappointed with coming up short of a World Series win?
It’s worth pondering because MLB insider Buster Olney predicts the Nats will do just that in 2018:
Keep in mind that the Nats could have a historically potent team this year, with two aces, a dominant bullpen and a generational offensive talent in Bryce Harper. Harper either comes off the roster in 2019 or takes up a larger chunk of the payroll, so it’s hard to see on paper how the Nats won’t regress somewhat after this season.
This could be their best chance to win it all, which means that a loss in the World Series could be the ultimate tease.
This is also the first year of the Dave Martinez era in the clubhouse, and a lot remains to be seen about his managerial style. Will he keep the clubhouse together better? Manage the bullpen differently? Shuffle the offense to keep it from going cold in the playoffs?
There are many questions to be answered over the next eight-plus months. But if you knew today that the Nats would make the playoffs, win in the playoffs and come up just short in the World Series, would you take it as a successful season?