September 2, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Washington Nationals teammates Ian Desmond (2) , Tyler Moore (57) , Eury Perez (55) , Bryce Harper (34) and Danny Espinsoa (8) celebrate after a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. The Nationals defeated the Cardinals 4 - 3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
The Nationals are exceeding all expectations this season and are looking like a dangerous team come October.
The Washington Nationals will finish this season with a winning record, the first time a D.C.-based baseball team has done so since the Senators in 1969.
Their win over the Cubs on Monday afternoon was their 82nd of the season, and the team currently holds the best record in baseball at 82-52. They are 6.5 games up on the Braves in the National League East race.
The last time the franchise had a winning season: the Montreal Expos, in 2003. The club moved to Washington prior to the 2005 season.
Pitching has been the key for the Nats this season. Armed with three very impressive young starters at the top of their rotation, Washington ranks first in the National League with a 3.30 team ERA. Stephen Strasburg leads baseball with 195 strikeouts, while Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann have emerged as two of the better young pitchers in the game. Combine this trio with Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler and it's easy to see why this team has been so successful in 2012.
The club will now shift their focus on winning the division and securing home-field advantage in the playoffs.