The Nats are 53-36, the best team int he National League by three games and about to be 4 and a half up in the division. After seven long years of either finishing last or with a losing record, it's about time the Nats found some success.
But so much so soon? It's been wonderful. I was critical of Davey Johnson for not seeing the big picture last year. He didn't test his starting pitchers and ran his bullpen into the ground. He'd go all in to win a game, which would lead to two losses.
Well, I have to give him credit this year. It's not just that the Nats are winning. Johnson is making the right moves. Even when they don't work out, they're the right ones. He's stuck with Danny Espinosa, through his struggles. He found Lombardozzi playing time when he was hot earlier int he season. When he cooled, Johnson tried Tyler Moore. That worked, too. Then Moore cooled and Johnson pulled the right strings again. He's used Bernadina well.
Johnson has used his relief pitchers correctly. The Nats' relievers were about as good last year as they are this year, but Johnson has used them far more wisely and the numbers show it. The starters have been allowed to go longer into games. I still think he should let Edwin Jackson go longer in games. Jackson is an innings-eater and should be allowed to go deep into games even if he's given up a few runs. But all in all, I'm much happier with Johnson's managerial style this season than I was last one.
Bryce Harper has brought energy to the team. He gives his all every play, which fires up the team and the fans. I just don't see the arrogance that's supposed to be part of his personality. But his impact might be biggest in the national attention he brings the club.
The offense still needs to be more consistent, but so far so good this season.