Predicting Nationals' season record

ESPN Chalk's Joe Peta is sharing his season win total projections for every MLB team, including a reason for optimism and pessimism. Plus, he recommends an over/under play, or a pass. This is the entry for the Washington Nationals.

Washington Nationals

Reason for optimism: The stingiest team in the majors last year added the game's best free-agent pitcher.

Reason for pessimism: Despite 93 wins a year for three seasons, October success has been elusive.

The Nationals and the Atlanta Braves have alternated National League East titles the past three years, but the Nationals are a prohibitive favorite to break that pattern this year. They have the lowest futures odds to win the NL pennant (5-2) and World Series (5-1), and the list of reasons is lengthy and persuasive:

• Washington has won more regular-season games in the past three years (280) than any team in the majors.