Ross Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg are not far from returning, as Detwiler is said to have a rehab start in the first game of a doubleheader for the Nationals Single-A Potomac affiliate today and Strasburg had a very positive bullpen session. Both will be out at least another week, so for Wednesday against the Rockies, Washington will need a starter. Of course, this begs the question of who will take the ball that night in Colorado.
The Nationals Triple-A affiliate does have some candidates, though, Washington could pluck another starter from Double-A, a la Nathan Karns. Washington’s pitching depth, truth be told, is actually at the lower levels, with Triple-A being like a pitching closet the Nationals can pick and choose from. Syracuse’s rotation has been lackluster all season, with the two better starters being Ross Ohlendorf and Danny Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum has been on the rise the past few seasons, slowly moving through the ranks, and seems to be ready to take the next step, as he’s currently 5-3 with a 3.48 ERA, though, he has allowed 63 hits in 62 innings, walking 28 and striking out 38, while holding opponents to a .266 batting average against. Washington may leave Rosenbaum down in Triple-A because the pitcher getting the call would be up for one game and then sent back down.
A more obvious name is Ross Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf has been solid for Syracuse, going 4-5 with a 4.27 ERA, allowing 60 hits in 71.2 innings, walking 30, striking out 67 and holding opponents to a .223 batting average. Ohlendorf has shown he can get major league hitters out, and I’m sure the Nationals would be thrilled to get five innings out of him in a tough place to pitch.
Two other names to watch in general are Taylor Jordan and Caleb Clay, who are both at Double-A Harrisburg. Jordan has been lights out, going 5-1 with a 1.17 ERA in Double-A and Single-A, allowing 48 hits in 61.1 innings, walking 11 and striking out 50 and holding opponents to a .213 batting average against. Clay is not as stellar, but is 5-2 with a respectable 3.69 ERA, having allowed 55 hits in 63.1 innings, walking 17 and striking out 46.
Of course, Craig Stammen is an in-house choice, but has shown he is way too valuable to be dedicated to a start even for one game. Stammen would probably be the first man up if anyone struggles, so we may very well see him. Thankfully, this is a one game issue, and Washington will be back at full pitching strength soon.