Thursday, May 13, 2010 8:56 pm
By Holden Kushner
Im really enjoying this team. This Nationals team thats been pitching well from start to finish. This Nationals team that plays tremendous defense. This ball club that can beat you with small ball and the long ball. One problem: This cant last too much longer unless some adjustments to the pitching rotation and the bullpen are made and made soon.
Go ahead, tell me to pipe down and just enjoy the ride this team is giving us. No way. Its time for a reality check. Livan Hernandez cant be the ace of this staff if you expect them to contend. Scott Olsen has been good but Luis Atilano, with fifth-starter stuff, cant be counted on as a middle of the rotation starter. At (3-0) and a 3.57 E.R.A, thats what Atilano has been so far. The Nationals third-best starter. Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons joined myself and Mike Wise on the radio show and said, The Nationals need to get more starters back. I agree. Problem is, Jason Marquis is out for the next 8-10 weeks with elbow issues, the ineffective Garrett Mock is battling a spinal injury and his timetable to return is up in the air and Chien Ming Wang isnt due to make his Nats debut until the All Start break. Its questionable as to how effective Wang can be when he arrives given the severity of his foot and pitching shoulder issues.Livan, Olsen, Atilano, Stammen and Lannan isnt a rotation with staying power. Only Olsen is more than a number four starter on a contending club. Strasburg should be ready to help the staff in a month but Im not sure the current rotation of mediocrity can hold on for much longer than that. Also, one mega-prospect can only help so much. Especially when that player is on the field only once every five games.Time for some more reality. Gammons says hes, Worried that three Nationals relievers are on pace for 80 appearances. Im a little worried as well. Washingtons bullpen has thrown the fourth-most innings in baseball. Relievers do wear down as the season progresses. Matt Capps, Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett need less of a workload. The starters need to go deeper into ballgames (A problem Ive already addressed) and Brian Bruney, Tyler Walker and Miguel Batista must improve their bottom lines. The one solution that could help immediately is to call up RHP Drew Storen. Storen could immediately share the 7th inning duties and take the job over by mid-season. Can this ban of overachievers hang on until reinforcements arrive?
The Nationals have captured the attention of the baseball world with their hot start. To sustain success, their starters need to continue to overachieve for at least another month and hope that Strasburg makes an immediate positive impact. The bullpen needs Drew Storen now.
Enjoy this team NOW Nats fans. Their hot start can only last so long with the current pieces in place.