Washington Nationals are Sports Illustrated pick as World Series champions

Stephen Strasburg graces the cover of this week's magazine. Photo: Sports Illustrated

If anyone thought expectations for the Washington Nationals in 2013 would be tempered in any way, forget it.

As reported on the Nationals' Curly Live blog, Sports Illustrated has picked the Nationals to win the World Series this season, a year after capturing their first National League East title.

The magazine picks the Nats to top the Tampa Bay Rays in this year's Fall Classic.

"The Nationals are coming off a 98-win season, are loaded with young pitching, star players and a deep bullpen and expect to win," Sports Illustrated MLB writer Tom Verducci wrote on "Washington has no obvious flaw."

The selection came with another cover honor for a Nationals player. Pitcher Stephen Strasburg graces the front of this week's edition of Sports Illustrated. In mid-February, Bryce Harper was on the cover for the magazine's Spring Training preview.

Your 1st of 6 @mlb Preview Covers... SI's pick to win the World Series? @stras37 & the @nationals…

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 26, 2013

If you're worried that the pick might be a jinx, though, there's reason for concern. Sports Illustrated has not accurately pegged a World Series champion since 1999, when they picked the New York Yankees to win their third championship in four years.