More analysts consider Nationals favorites in NL

As the Nationals continue this historic season, more observers across the baseball world begin to consider them favorites in the National League. Las Vegas oddmakers were already high on the Nationals this season, and those odds have continued to improve as the team moved to 20 games over. 500 on Thursday for the first time since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. (They’re 4-1 favorites to win the NL pennant, when earlier this month they were 9-1 co-favorites with the San Francisco Giants.)

ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian said earlier this month that the Nationals were frontrunners for the NL crown. Now, TBS analyst (and for Boston Red Sox’s network NESN) Dennis Eckersley, a Hall of Famer, said Friday in a phone interview that the Nationals are the favorites in the NL.

“Couple months ago, offense wasn’t right,” he said. “[Ryan] Zimmerman wasn’t right. When they weren’t swinging, they looked bad. But I changed my mind. Because you can’t deny the pitching staff and there’s confidence in that offense now. [Ian] Desmond is having a great year. And you see [Adam] LaRoche can run into something. That’s a nice lineup. It really is.”

And with the possibility of Jayson Werth returning soon and Drew Storen building a larger role in the bullpen, Ecekersley was convinced.

“That’s the team to beat,” he said. “I really truly believe that.”

According to Elias, via ESPN, if the Nationals win today and the New York Yankees lose, they would become the first team to 60 wins — the last Washington team to do that was the 1933 Senators.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.

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