Early Grades For Washington Nationals' Starting Rotation and Bullpen
The Washington Nationals' pitching staff was supposed to be the team's strength coming into this season. It has not worked out that way. They are ranked right in the middle of the league with a 3.75 ERA. Here are some early-season grades for the staff.
The ace of this staff is supposed to be Strasburg. He was the greatest pitching prospect since Mark Prior. There was talk that he could be worth million before he even threw a pitch. He was shut down in the middle of a playoff race just to conserve his arm. He leads the league in strikeouts with 42, but ranks 97th in ERA. He has not been the guy he was expected to be.
Gio Gonzalez has once again been the best starter on the Nationals. His 2.88 ERA is a full run less than that of anyone else on the team. Three of his four starts were quality starts.
Zimmermann has been decent in his first four starts. He was taken out too early in his first start (5.0 IP, one run, 81 pitches). His one AWFUL start against the Miami Marlins have skewed his number (1.2 IP, five earned runs). He has been a good No. 2 besides that game.
Tanner Roark showed a ton of promise in 2013, which solidified his spot in the rotation. He has shown the ability to bounce back. He will eventually even out and be a good bottom-of-the-rotation guy. For now, he needs to stay away from the bad pitch in the bad situation.
After a gem to start the season, Jordan has been hit hard in the past two. He has gotten worse over his three starts. A 5.94 ERA is nowhere close where he needs to be. The team can't wait for Doug Fister to get off the DL.
Three guys with at least six appearances have a 0.00 ERA. Only one guy in the entire bullpen has over 4.00-plus ERA. They only have two blown saves, none of which came from closer Rafael Soriano. Ross Detwiler has been great, transitioning from starter to setup man. This is the glue that has kept this team above .500.