The Nats’ pitching staff has had some serious expectations over the past few years. They had three pitchers finish in the top-10 in Cy Young voting in 2014, and entered last season heralded as of the most fearsome rotations in recent memory. They failed to meet those expectations, however, and missed the playoffs. This year, expectations were much lower than in years past, but the pitching staff is showing everyone just how dangerous they can be. And at the forefront of it all is none other than Stephen Strasburg.
Strasburg is 9-0 on the season, posting a 2.69 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 90 strikeouts across eleven starts. The former No. 1 overall draft pick signed a seven-year, $175 million extension in early May, and is proving his worth each and every time he takes the mound. Strasburg has always been among the top strikeout artists in the league, but this may finally be the season where he puts it all together and competes for a Cy Young.
Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.57 ERA) received a vote for his early success. After watching his ERA rise in each of the past three seasons, Gonzalez has worked closely with pitching coach Mike Maddux to tweak his mechanics and improve his pitch selection out on the field. So far, it has worked well. It will be interesting to see if the Nats’ lefty can keep it up for an entire season.
While the bullpen did not garner any votes, they still deserve some recognition for the work they’ve put in. The relief corps sports an NL-best 2.66 ERA and has been surprisingly dependable thus far in 2016.
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