The bad news continues to pile up for the Nationals with two more key assets landing on the already crowded injury list.
In 2019 the aspect of the Nationals game which almost kept them out of the postseason was the dreadful bullpen. In 2020 the aspect of the Nationals game which could keep them on the outside looking in might be injuries.
Juan Soto and Will Harris have already had stints on the on the injured list this year, though they are back on the active roster now.
Sean Doolittle and Sam Freeman are currently on the shelf with injuries. Doolittle has struggled in the early going, but Freeman had not allowed a run in the seven games he pitched in the early going.
The news broke just before the Orioles game, second baseman Starlin Castro was going to be sidelined indefinitely with a broken wrist. Shortly after the start of the Orioles game, Stephen Strasburg was shaking his hand as he walked off the mound mid-inning.
Strasburg had issues earlier in the year with a nerve in his pitching hand causing numbness. This caused Stras to miss two starts, though he didn’t officially land on the injured list.
While it is unknown at this juncture how much time he will miss, any length away from the team will be costly for the Nationals.
The season is seventeen games old and the Nats best hitter, arguably best starting pitcher and reliever, and now starting second baseman have all missed games.
Teams can never have enough pitching depth, and the Nationals secondary arms will be put to the test now. Eric Fedde and Austin Voth have pitched well and don’t have much to show for it. Depending on the length of Strasburg’s absence, dare the Nationals try to find a more veteran starter in the trade market?
Where Castro is immediately replaced in the lineup by Luis Garcia, Castro’s ten years of experience and sixteen-hundred career hits will be greatly missed. The wrist injury he suffered will most likely put an end to his season.
If the Nationals want to stay competitive and fight for one of the top two spots in the division, they need to shoo the injury bug out the door.