Early Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Nationals announced that they were putting starting pitcher Ross Detwiler on the 60-day disabled list due to a back injury. This move has put the Nationals in a tricky situation at the back end of the rotation.
In Detwiler’s absence, Taylor Jordan has filled in as the starter and has done a fantastic job. In seven starts for the Nats, the right-hander is 1-3 with a 3.78 ERA and 23 strikeouts. Throughout his stint as the Nats fifth starter, he’s shown tremendous potential and has proven that he’s ready to become an all-season starter in the future.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, Jordan is recovering from Tommy John Surgery and is on an innings limit. While he has been a solid addition to the pitching staff, he won’t be around much longer.
If you’re keeping score at home, the Nationals are now down to their third option for the fifth starter, Ross Ohlendorf.
But adding to the already difficult situation the Nationals find themselves in pitching wise is the loss of Ohlendorf. Since being called up prior to the All-Star break, Ohlendorf has posted a 1.85 ERA over 34 innings of long relief and spot starting work. Many believed that the Nationals would turn to Ohlendorf, who is recovering from a shoulder injury and could be back in two weeks, when Taylor Jordan is finished for the season later this month.
To update the score, that means the Nationals are down to their fourth option. When I mean “down” to their fourth option, I really mean down on the farm.
To replace Detwiler, Jordan and Ohlendorf, the Nationals called up Tanner Roark from Class AAA Syracuse. Roark has been a versatile pitcher for the Nationals minor league ball club as he has started, relieved and closed games. He’s posted a 9-3 record over 105.2 innings with a 3.15 ERA. He has also started 11 games.
If Ohlendorf doesn’t recover like the Nationals hope and Roark proves to be unreliable and inconsistent on the mound, it will make the already daunting, and some are starting to think impossible, task of making the playoffs more difficult.
In the first half of the season, injuries plagued the Nationals starting lineup. Now, the back end of rotation is a question mark with Ohlendorf, Detwiler, and Jordan’s futures all hanging in the ballast.