But there have also been a handful of days — though admittedly only a few, and usually scattered about — when these Nationals do put it all together and walk away from the ballpark having every reason to believe they can go on the kind of sustained tear that defined their breakthrough 2012 season.
Today was one of those days. Whether it's a positive omen of more good things to come or just another blip in a mediocre season remains to be seen. But as they showed during a 13-2 demolition of the Mets, the Nationals do have the ability to overwhelm any opponent they face.
"We know we've got the lineup that can go out any given day and put up 15 hits and 10 runs, and it just hasn't happened," said Adam LaRoche, who ignited this offensive explosion with a second-inning homer off Zack Wheeler. "This isn't going to happen every day, obviously, but I think it should a lot more often than it has."
The season is now officially halfway complete, and the Nationals sit one game over the .500 mark at 41-40. They've hovered right at, right above or right below sea level for the last six weeks, never getting real hot, never getting real cold. But they've now won seven of their last 11 games, and tomorrow they'll get their most-important player back after a lengthy absence.