Washington Nationals: Nationals Need Trevor Rosenthal

rshinberg
DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 24: Pitcher Trevor Rosenthal #44 of the Washington Nationals throws in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 24, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 24: Pitcher Trevor Rosenthal #44 of the Washington Nationals throws in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 24, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals will need Trevor Rosenthal on his A-game if the team wants to salvage their 2019 season.

The Washington Nationals blasted Chicago White Sox relievers Thyago Vieria and Juan Minaya in the ninth inning of last night’s game, scoring six runs against them in the top of the ninth.

With an eleven run lead, and three outs to get, manager Davey Martinez determined it was time to bring in Trevor Rosenthal.

In his first Major League outing since his “viral infection” sidelined him for over a month, Rosenthal pitched his best inning as a National (which is not saying very much).

Rosenthal pitched a tidy, scoreless inning, allowing only one walk but securing a double play to face the minimum amount of batters.

It comes as no surprise that Rosenthal is back with the big league club.  During his horrid April, Martinez continued to proclaim his support for Rosenthal, repeatedly saying that the team will need the Rosenthal of old for the bullpen to function as intended.

As much as fans seem to detest and disagree with Martinez, he is right on this one.

Because the Nats failed to sign Craig Kimbrel, the bullpen is without an eighth-inning relief pitcher they can count on each night.

Right now, Tanner Rainey looks like he could be that guy.  However, he only has 18 innings of MLB experience.  He is not battle tested like Rosenthal.

Martinez and the Nats knew the risks that came with Rosenthal coming off Tommy John surgery.  But they also knew his upside.

In his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Rosenthal struck out 12 batters per nine innings.  He posted a 2.99 ERA over 325 innings.

In 2017, he was on pace for his best season before injuring his arm.  In 47.2 innings, Rosenthal had a 14.3 K/9 and a 1.19 WHIP.

If the Nats want to make a run at the postseason, they’ll need the Rosenthal of old.  The bullpen, as it is currently constructed, is not good enough to get the team to the playoffs.

If Rosenthal can even come close to what he did in St. Louis, it might be enough to allow the team’s starting pitching and lineup to carry the team.

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What Rosenthal did yesterday was the first step in what hopefully becomes a great comeback story.

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