How a shortened season helps the Nats and hurts the Braves
The biggest competition for the Atlanta Braves in the NL East this year, the Washington Nationals, could become huge benefactors from a shortened MLB season in 2020.
If we do have an MLB season this year — and I think we will — it will certainly be a shortened one. How the Atlanta Braves manage to navigate a sprint instead of a marathon is still to be seen.
And I’m sure there are some advantages for the Braves in playing a shortened season, but I’m not sure any team benefits more from the ‘break’ than the Washington Nationals.
I honestly haven’t watched any TV since baseball was shut down — what’s the point without sports to watch? The news … no thanks.
But I happened to catch a live stream from FOX the other day on Twitter and it was Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, and Kevin Burkhardt talking baseball so I decided to listen for a minute.
One of the things they talked about is how a shortened season really benefits the Nationals.
Normally, a World Series team plays deep into October, sometimes early November, and then they spend a month going around and celebrating their win.
So already they’re behind on their offseason training, which for players today starts almost immediately after the season ends.
They’re now far removed from that and will be given ample time to rest and prepare for the upcoming season.
But the biggest advantage of all is that their starting pitchers won’t have to throw a lot of innings this season.
The main reason I was not as worried about the Nationals in 2020 was because of the hangover, and the fact that their pitching staff was run ragged in the postseason (for good reason).
Max Scherzer was already showing signs of aging last year and even got skipped in the World Series because of injury. With the season likely being delay until at least June, he has plenty of time to recover, and he won’t have to throw as many innings this season.
Stephen Strasburg is coming off his best year yet and a Wolrd Series MVP. We know he’s had his own injury problems in the past, and you wondered what kind of effect that would have on him in 2020.
Now the Nationals don’t have to worry about that as much and can just let him go knowing he won’t have to throw 200 innings this season.
Of course, every pitching staff will be less stressed with fewer games in 2020, but it’s even more significant for the Nationals who are coming off a long postseason run.
The fresher the arms of the Nationals are, the more of a threat they pose to the Braves in the National League East — and NL as a whole.