Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: The Gang’s Back Together Again
By Matt Weyrich
The Washington Nationals’ starters entered the 2015 season labeled as the “super rotation” by many across baseball. Injuries and early season struggles have kept Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister out of the active roster. But, with both back in business, the Nats’ arsenal of aces finally have the chance to show just how dominant they can be.
As Fister returned from the disabled list last Thursday and Strasburg last night, the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation is fully intact. Each of the five starters has made at least one start over the past week, with all of them going at least five innings. In fact, their combined stat line actually fares pretty well, sitting at 3-2 with a 2.16 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and only four walks over 33.1 innings of work.
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While these may not “super rotation” worthy numbers, they are certainly something to take notice of. With a streaky offense that has somehow scored the most runs in the National League, many wonder just how dangerous this team can be when fully healthy.
On the season, starters wearing a Washington Nationals uniform have put up a combined 3.93 ERA, good for 13th in baseball and seventh in the National League. With Strasburg and Fister out, the Nats have seen many different arms take the mound in their places. Some have filled in admirably (see Joe Ross, Tanner Roark)… while others not so much (A.J. Cole, Taylor Jordan). Granted before their trips to the DL, Strasburg and Fister were not pitching well. In fact, Strasburg was statistically one of the worst starters in the sport as he had a 6.55 ERA before last night’s five inning, no run, six strikeout performance against the Braves.
However, it is rumored that his mechanics were off as a result of some injuries he was playing through and that his lack of success could be attributed as such. If he and Fister return to their 2014 selves, the Nats could be finding themselves in many more low scoring games.
Max Scherzer may have just thrown a no-hitter and entered the MVP conversation, but he cannot carry a rotation alone. His supporting cast of Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Strasburg, and Fister can and will step up in the second half. With a relatively easy schedule over the next week consisting of five games against the Atlanta Braves and three against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Nationals rotation could be hitting its stride, and can hopefully ride that streak through the rest of the season.