If you judge solely on the standings, the Nationals are in the exact same place they were at this time last year; last in the NL East. But this year just feels different. There is a certain amount of buzz assoicated with this team that wasn't here in the past. Some of that can be attributed to a certain baseball jesus who will remain nameless, but a lot of that buzz is comes from the team just being plain old better.â†µ
Holden Kushner at CSN Washington.com has a statistical breakdown of why the Nationals are better in most aspects of the game; which explains their 13 win increase over what they had at the break last season. Those wins have not translated to success within in the division yet, but the Nationals are improving.