Starting Rotation: B
Despite the injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, the Washington Nationals rotation held their own in August. They had three starters who each won four games. First, let’s start with Max Scherzer, who was one of the best pitchers in the National League this month.
Scherzer went 4-1 with a 3.05 ERA in six starts, but he had the most strikeouts of any starter in baseball (51), including four outings of double-digit strikeouts. In his lone loss, he gave up one earned run against the Indians on August 9, when he took a no-hitter into the seventh.
Roark had the one bad outing against the Orioles on August 24 (four earned runs in five innings). In his other five starts, he gave up a total of nine earned runs. While he did have 14 combined walks in August, he was able to pitch into the sixth inning or later in almost every start.
To me, the surprise of the month was Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez didn’t have a low ERA in August (3.58), but he went 4-0 and held opponents to a .208 batting average. In four of his six starts, he gave up two runs or fewer as he has now putting his winning percentage over .500 for the season.
Before the injury, Strasburg had a rough month of August (10.19 ERA) and had an outing in Colorado (August 17) when he gave up nine runs in 1.2 innings. With Strasburg on the DL, the Washington Nationals turned to A.J. Cole to help in the rotation. While Cole doesn’t have a win, he has done a good job in keeping the offense in the game against two strong lineups in the Orioles and Rockies.
Finally, the fifth starter spot has left a lot to be desired without Strasburg. Lucas Giolito made one start on August 28 against the Rockies and gave up four runs on six hits over five innings in a loss. Reynaldo Lopez did have 11 strikeouts against the Braves on August 18 and won two starts against Atlanta. However, he struggled against the Orioles on August 23 when he gave up four runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings.
Even with Strasburg out of the rotation, the starting pitching has still had a good month. Once he gets back, this is a strong top four in the rotation that all seem to be finding their form at the right time.