Pitching has been the center of talk for the Washington Nationals simply because of der Wunderkind, Stephen Strasburg. After a fantastic performance from the stud, the Nationals dropped their fifth straight after 11 innings at Nationals Park last night. So what about the rest of the rotation who have given up 42 earned runs in their past 12 games, with a record of 1-8 between the four? And what about the pitchers the Nationals currently have on the disabled list?
It hurts to see a rotation struggle as much as these four have (Strasburg excluded), especially after such a successful start to the season. John Lannan has struggled for the majority of the season, with much of that due to location issues while Livan Hernandez has just seemed to cool off after such a surprisingly hot start to the season. Luis Atilano has struggled with consistency for much of the season while J.D. Martin seems to just be a placeholder on the injury-ridden pitching staff.
What we haven’t seen this season is an incredible amount of talent that has been plagued by injuries.
Jason Marquis (60-day DL)hasn’t been seen since April 18th where he allowed seven earned runs and couldn’t get out of the first inning. It could be over a month for the former Cardinal return to the mound after announcing he would likely need surgery to remove spurs and bone-chips from his right elbow. The sun could be setting on the once promising addition to the Nationals rotation.
One of the best prospects in the Nationals system Jordan Zimmermann (60-day DL) won’t pitch until at least August, but that won’t stop me from hyping up the fantastic right arm of this kid (even though he’s two years older than I am). After undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2009 season, Zimmermann is ahead of schedule in his rehab. It’s going to be nice seeing him finally take the mound in August when the rotation is hopefully somewhat restored. We can only hope. More from Riggleman on Zimmermann’s rehab: [via Federal Baseball]
Zimmermann’s been on…and with Jordan, he threw to hitters out there, threw a couple innings, threw a lot actually, warmed up for a long time, threw an inning, sat down, went out and threw another inning, and threw the ball very well. Very encouraging that he’s responded well to everything, to the surgery itself then to all the throwing sessions that he’s had since then, so, you know, we’re crossing our fingers and hopefully we’ll have him back in a reasonable amount of time. I’m not sure how many starts he’ll go down and get, but it will be really nice to have him back.”
Chien-Ming Wang (60-day DL)was another promising addition to the rotation, but hasn’t yet thrown a pitch this season since recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Things are looking up for Wang, though, as he continues to pitch bullpen sessions with the coaches. The Nationals pick-up of Wang was risky after his production dropped off considerably from his back-to-back 19 win seasons in 2006 and 2007.
Unlike the four pitchers above, Scott Olsen, who has been recovering from a injury to his throwing arm, should be back in the rotation soon. After a slow start to the season, Olsen settled in to his role in the rotation and allowed only eight runs in six starts before succumbing to tightness in his pitching elbow.
There are obviously other problems the Nationals need to fix before becoming a successful squad in the National League East such as hitting and defense (yeah I know, the problems seem to be everywhere), but the future is bright especially with so many improvements to all facets of the pitching game. The Nationals can’t rely on a player that pitches every five day, so getting these players back in the rotation will be incredibly helpful.