You have to understand this above all: I have seen lots of great baseball teams. I grew up on the Cardinals of the 1960s; I became an adult as the Cards and the Royals dominated big chunks of the 1980s; again, I have watched the Cards become a power again since the turn of the millenium. I know what great baseball looks like.
Great baseball looks like the 2012 Nationals. There. I said it.
Edwin F. Jackson — you know, the Nats’ No. 4 starter — struck out nine Cincinnati Reds, gave up only two hits and pitched a complete game Saturday as the Nats won, 4-1. And more than 35,000 people showed up in April. And there was timely hitting and great defense.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Washington Nationals are 7-2. This is not a fluke. This is a team with what might be the best pitching in baseball and an offense that might be better than advertised. Other teams — and Washington residents themselves — just don’t realize it yet.
Heck, Michael Morse hasn’t played an inning yet this year, and won’t for a while. Detwiler is on the mound Sunday, and he’s beatable, but then come Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmermann-with-two-Ns. It’s not unreasonable for this team to suddenly be 10-3 or even 11-2.
People around here don’t want to believe that this is happening. They’re accustomed to mediocre-to-horrible Washington baseball teams, and too many people assume the Nats will spit the bit in the end. I don’t know if — in fact, I seriously doubt that — the Nats can win the National League East title this year. But what I do know is that we are going to see a lot of exciting baseball at the stadium in 2012 — and this time, it’s going to matter.