Drive Around The League: What's real about Nats' 2020 season?


It would be easy to take too much or too little from this abysmal 2020 Nationals season, which begs the question: what's real from what we've seen from Washington in this shortened 60-game season?

How do they properly evaluate their offseason needs?

In this Drive Around The League — brought to you by your Greater Washington Area Hyundai Dealers — 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier try to determine the legitimate takeaways.

Keeping The Phillies Out

For the second year in a row, the Nationals began their season 19-31. Unfortunately for them, they don't have 112 games left over to correct course as they did en route to their magical World Series run in 2019.

No, that record left them with 10 games to claw their way back in this pandemic-shortened 60-game season. And now — at 23-32 — they're down to just five games remaining and almost certainly falling short of the postseason.

But if there's a consolation prize to be earned, it's the greatest consolation prize to be had in the NL East, and that's keeping Bryce Harper's Phillies out of the postseason thanks to a late-season Nationals surge.

With a win Wednesday, the Nationals could play a heavy role in spoiling Philly's season (for the second year in a row).

Austin Voth: Real Or Fake?

After struggling all season — to the tune of a 7.99 in his first eight starts — Austin Voth has come on nicely down the home stretch of the season. Allowing only two earned runs in his past two starts, Voth pitched a surprise seven-inning complete game in the first leg of a Nationals doubleheader against the Phillies.

Is this strong close to 2020 to be believed? Did the pitching coach find a cure in his mechanics? Or is Austin Voth who we thought he was?

Biggest Offseason Need

Outside of starting pitching, the Nats must find someone to protect Juan Soto in the lineup this offseason. It's a void left by Anthony Rendon the Nats hoped to plug with Starlin Castro, whose season ended prematurely with a broken wrist after just 16 games, leaving Soto exposed the rest of the way.