The National League East is a group of five teams. The unity that can dramatically separate these teams from each other? This would be the starting rotation for the Washington Nationals.

Rotation issues were the main culprit as the Washington Nationals did not return to the playoffs after their 2019 World Series championship. Stephen Strasburg has only made two starts due to a wrist injury, Patrick Corbin (a 4.66 ERA in 11 starts) and Anibal Sanchez (an ERA of 6.62 on 11 starts) struggled violently and Max Scherzer was disappointing (an ERA of 3.74 on 12 departures).

This unit is capable of much more.

Manager Dave Martinez has an elite rotation when she’s at full blast. Scherzer is a workaholic who registers high-rate withdrawals and crushes bats. Strasbourg controls the exits with its arsenal at three lengths (fastball, curveball and change). Corbin throws one of the best runners in MLB, and he gets considerable movement on his fastball. Meanwhile, veteran southpaw Jon Lester joins the mix in place of Sanchez, as he signed a one year contract with the nationals in January. The veteran is capable of being a savvy starter and out of gear.

The heart and soul of the Washington operation is starting to beat. The team will go as it rotates. Based on some of Washington’s off-season trades, a rotation that’s only 85% of his former form makes the Nationals a force to be reckoned with.

Yes, Washington’s offense finished in the MLB’s top 10 in points, hits, batting average and OPS last season. At the same time, the Nationals were above all a spectacle for two on the set: Juan Soto and Trea Turner. The two sloths posted 1.185 and 0.982 OPS respectively. Carter Kieboom registered a single extra baseline, Victor Robles hit .220 and Starlin Castro missed almost a quarter of the season with a wrist injury.

These three scenarios can be expected to not happen again in 2021. The same logic goes for the off-season additions Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber. Even as they come out of a pair of playoff-riddled seasons, the career-long NL Central residents provide much-needed power outlets to hit Soto and Turner.

Meanwhile, General Manager Mike Rizzo Signed All-Star reliever Brad Hand on a one-year contract and recently signed Jeremy Jeffress, who recorded a 1.54 ERA in 22 appearances with the Chicago Cubs last season, to a minor league agreement. They will likely join a bullpen starring Tanner Rainey, Will Harris and Daniel Hudson.

Overall, this is a playoff list from a talent standpoint, although half of those not named Soto and Turner are repeating their 2020 campaigns. Washington’s offensive should be a powerful force. , and the bullpen will be better. Both units need the rotation to ensure length and reliability because, frankly, there is no margin for error in the eastern region of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The National League East is loaded in 2021

Like the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies all have reason to be optimistic about 2021.

The brave retained Marcell Ozuna and addition of a right-handed starter Charlie Morton in free agency. Manager Brian Snitker probably has the best offense in the NL available to him outside of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Further south, the Marlins have just made a playoff appearance and have a compelling pitching pipeline. This offseason, they have strengthened their enclosure, adding Anthony Bass, Dylan Floro and John Curtiss.

In the Northeast, the New York Mets may have had the best offseason in franchise history, as they added. Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann, Trevor May, Kevin Pillar, Jonathan Villar and many more.

The Philadelphia Phillies are, to say the least, a competitive ball club with some top players. Infielder Alec Bohm and right-hander Zack Wheeler for the encouraging first season with Philly give the organization little hope.

Every NL East team that meets expectations makes it virtually impossible to separate them from each other for good. It’s a matter of one aspect of one of those lineups that struggled last season taking a 180 total. Washington, Atlanta and New York can all do damage in the batter’s box. New York, Miami, and Philadelphia all have elite capacity rotations.

The Nationals need a better performance in an aspect of their roster that’s just a year away from being the momentum behind them to win the World Series.

Injury is also part of the equation, as Strasbourg has a well-documented injury history and Scherzer has quietly stacked health hiccups over the years. Health and performance are of equal concern to Washington.

If the core Washington returns to the pitch at the level it has done in 2019 and previous years – or at least extremely close to it – it’s a playoff team and perhaps the favorite to win the NL East. That would mean Scherzer, Strasbourg and Corbin would give the Nationals over 28 starts while performing at All-Star level. It also means Lester is throwing at a plausible level.

Every NL East team has their burning question / fear. For the Braves and Mets, it’s health and consistency of rotation. In Miami’s case, it’s a question of whether some of its young players can take the next step. For Philly, it’s the end of a season and part of her roster occurring at an elite level.

A return to the front of the stage for a unit titled by Scherzer, Strasbourg and Corbin brings the Washington Nationals back into the mix. A 2020 repeat or simple marginal improvements open the door for the rest of the division.