For just the second time in the franchise’s 44-year history, the Washington Nationals have a legitimate chance to win a World Series.

With less than two weeks left in the 2012 MLB Season, the Nationals have the best record in the majors. At 91-58, Washington has already clinched a playoff spot and is on their way to an NL East title.

Despite their record, the Nationals still have their skeptics. Many people still consider teams like the Rangers and Yankees to be the favorites to win it all, despite Washington’s success.

Should the Nationals be considered the favorites to win the World Series?

Washington probably has the best pitching staff in entire league. They lead baseball with a 3.27 ERA, and have an extremely strong rotation. Edwin Jackson is the team’s worst starter, and he has a 3.89 ERA.

Gio Gonzalez leads a staff that doesn’t have one bad starter. He has a chance to win the Cy Young Award, and is as good as any team’s number one pitcher.

Great pitching is always the most important factor in the postseason, especially in a short series. It will be hard to upset the Nationals because they can send a quality starter to the mound every night. 

The Nationals aren’t a dominant hitting team, but they have one of the offenses in the NL. Even if a few of their pitchers struggle in the postseason, Washington’s offense can keep them in games. A core of Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper should be good enough to help them win a title.

On paper, Washington might have the best chance of anybody to take the 2012 championship. However, their lack of experience could be their downfall.

Washington has a great rotation, but their starters have virtually no experience. Jackson has pitched in the postseason, but he’s the team’s worst starter. Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and Ross Detwiler have only pitched in the regular season. They’ve been excellent in 2012, but it’s hard to predict how they would perform under pressure.

Teams like the Yankees and Rangers haven’t been as good this year, but almost all of their players have postseason experience.

The Nationals will also lose one of their best players in October. Steven Strasburg is one of the biggest reasons why Washington has had so much success this year. Because of the club’s innings restrictions, they have essentially gotten rid of one of their biggest stars.

Washington’s numbers indicate that they should be the favorites to win the World Series. A lack of experience, though, could cause them to underachieve and slip up in the playoffs.