The Washington Nationals boast a strong starting pitching rotation. How does one of the best in the game compare with the rest of the NL East?
Perhaps the biggest reason the Washington Nationals won the National League East last year came from the strength of their starting pitching.
Although the offense sets the table, the five starters set the pace. On a good day, they save the bullpen excessive wear and tear. A great one frustrates the other offense and might, even in this age, give that pen a day off.
The ability to keep other teams guessing six to eight innings a night separates good teams from bad. Over the course of a 162-game marathon, the teams that remain fresh and healthy survive. Today’s pitching staffs are built on proper management and control.
Experience tells us you can never have enough pitching. From the staff ace able to reset the worst of slumps every fifth day to the young starter grinding an extra out to save a tired bullpen arm, how these collections of arms handle the season determines their team’s fate.
As we enter 2017, there are profound changes within the division. The rise of the next generation of arms prevails with some. A healthy and young group awaits in New York. In Washington, it is recovering from injury and exceeding expectation.
How do these five rotations rank with each other? Which team is tested come October? In their effort to repeat as division champions, do the Washington Nationals have the arm power to control their own destiny?
Those answers will reveal themselves between now and October. For now, here is how we think those staffs stack up against each other.