Washington Nationals relief pitcher Wander Suero struggled last night, allowing three earned runs without recording an out.
Suero gave up most of the damage, allowing two hits and one walk leading to three earned runs all while recording zero outs.
While there is no good time to blow up on the mound, Suero’s outing is coming at a particularly bad one.
There are many options for manager Dave Martinez to use, and at the moment, Suero doesn’t seem like the best option for any role.
For the sake of discussion, let’s assume Doolittle gets back to 100%. In that case, he’s the 9th inning guy. For the eighth inning, Hudson has established himself already as the most consistent and can fit that bridge role nicely.
For the seventh inning, any one of Rodney, Strickland, and Rainey can fill that role, and most people won’t have an issue with it.
In the long-reliever role, Guerra has pitched unbelievably well lately despite the difficult circumstances. He has a 4.50 ERA in his last five outings, four of which went more than three innings. While a 4.50 ERA may seem bad, remember the context. He pitched in the extra inning marathon against Milwaukee and after the injury to Joe Ross against Pittsburgh forced him into action quickly.
That leaves Suero as the odd person out.
Suero’s range of outcomes in his appearances makes it challenging to pin down a role. He has the upside of striking out the side in an inning, but the downside of what happened last night.
But when Suero gets blown up, it’s extremely bad. The Nationals simply cannot afford to take many chances while clinging onto a slim lead in the Wild Card when there are more consistent pitchers still in the bullpen.
While it may seem counterintuitive, I still very much believe that Suero’s upside is critical to the Nationals winning games in October. But to get to that point, he’ll either need to prove himself or take a backseat to other options.