With Joe Ross now on the disabled list, the Washington Nationals should go with Edwin Jackson in the rotation for the time being.
In addition to the bullpen issues the Washington Nationals have had this season, you can now add the rotation to their list of concerns. Yesterday, Joe Ross was placed on the ten day disabled list with a right elbow sprain and Dusty Baker made it sound like he will be out for a long time in the pregame press conference:
While the pitching depth isn’t great at the upper levels of the Washington Nationals, they still have some internal possibilities for the number five spot in the rotation. Since they need a fifth starter on Tuesday for the matchup with the Angels, the pitcher they should go with for now is Edwin Jackson.
Before looking at why Jackson is a good fit for this spot, let’s look at why the other options aren’t. Jackson pitched with Jacob Turner on Thursday night for Syracuse, but Turner only threw 36 of 63 pitches for strikes and has walked seven batters in the last 7.2 innings.
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Turner would be the only other option that would be on-turn with Jackson. Erick Fedde pitched last night, so he would be on short rest. Plus, Fedde wouldn’t be able to give you many pitches when you consider he hasn’t thrown more than 61 pitches in any outing since joining the Chiefs rotation.
As Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reported earlier this week, Jackson does have a August 1 opt-out in his contract, so it would make sense for the Washington Nationals to give him a couple of starts and see what he has. His major league experience is also a plus in his favor.
Since being with the Chiefs, the 33-year-old right-hander has a 0.44 ERA in five outings (four starts). While he does have ten walks in five games, Jackson is throwing over 60% of his pitches for strikes. In his relief outing Thursday, 30 of his 43 pitches went for strikes.
Jackson’s best outing of the season so far was on July 6 against the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. In that game, he threw five shutout innings and struck out nine against one of the best offenses in the International League. Other than that game, he hasn’t been much of a strikeout pitcher.
With the way the Washington Nationals offense has been scoring runs this year, all the fifth starter has to do is keep the team in the game. While you can’t expect the offense to score ten runs a game every fifth day, this team can still keep up a good amount of run support.
Right now, the Washington Nationals need to keep all of their focuses on trades to the bullpen. True, they could add a starter, but with the farm system not as strong as it once was, the bullpen needs to be priority A, B, and C.
The internal options aren’t as strong as everyone would like, but Jackson deserves another shot at the big league level while Fedde continues to develop as a starter again.