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Another abbreviated start plagues Nats

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Another abbreviated start plagues Nats

Just when you though it was safe to turn on a Nationals game and have some semblance of confidence in the starting pitcher's ability to take control, Gio Gonzalez took the mound Tuesday night and reminded us this rotation remains something less than desired right now.

Gonzalez lasted only 3 1/3 innings during the Nationals' 6-1 loss to the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., giving up five runs before departing. Truth be told, he was lucky the damage wasn't much worse.

Gonzalez faced 22 batters during the outing and let 12 of them reach base safely (eight hits, three walks, one hit batter). He loaded the bases three times in four innings, and if not for great defensive plays by Michael Taylor (leaping to make a catch at the wall in left field) and Danny Espinosa (snagging Gonzalez's bounced throw to first) he might well have given up a whole lot more.

This was yet another head-scratcher during what has been a wildly inconsistent season for Gonzalez. He has allowed two or fewer runs six times in 13 total starts, but he has allowed five or more runs five times.

The end result: a 4.82 ERA and more head scratching.

Of course, the same could be said for the entire Nationals rotation, which like its lone left-hander has been wildly inconsistent this season, leading to plenty of head scratching. Yes, Max Scherzer has been brilliant, never more so than he was during Sunday's 1-hit, 16-strikeout masterpiece in Milwaukee. And yes, Joe Ross came up huge during Saturday's win, despite his inexperience.

But in the bigger picture, the Nationals rotation remains something of an enigma. That group now owns a collective 4.14 ERA, which ranks 10th in the NL. Opponents are hitting .273 against Nats starters, 12th out of 15 NL clubs.

And, in perhaps the most-telling sign of the rotation's inconsistent nature, Nationals starters have now failed to complete four innings nine times in 64 games this season. They did that only 10 times throughout all of 2015. Only the Rockies, with 11, have done it more times this year.

This, to put it mildly, is not what anybody expected from what everybody expected was among the best rotations in baseball. And it may not continue, not with Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg close to returning from the disabled list.

But right now, for a Nationals club that is dealing with a banged-up lineup and an ever-changing bullpen, the one constant should be this rotation. Instead, those starters have been just as inconsistent as the rest of the roster during a wildly up-and-down first 2 1/2 months to the season.

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Rain, roster moves and Ryan Zimmerman to the IL

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Rain, roster moves and Ryan Zimmerman to the IL

Rain in D.C. postponed the Nationals' series opener against the Rockies on Monday. But although no players took the field, there was plenty of roster movement.

Check out the latest news and notes surrounding the Nationals.

Player Notes: 

With Monday's game being pushed to a Wednesday split doubleheader, it's likely RHP Erick Fedde will start one of Wednesday's games. RHP Stephen Strasburg will still make his scheduled start on Tuesday. 

RHP Austin Voth was set to throw on Monday after he was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with right biceps tendinitis.

1B Ryan Zimmerman was also placed on the 10-day injured list Monday after his plantar fasciitis in his right foot flared up on Sunday. He was kept out of play for the same injury earlier this season.

The Nationals transferred RHP Justin Miller from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for RHP Michael Blazek, whose contract Washington purchased from Triple-A Fresno on Monday. Blazek's last major-league appearance was in 2017.

RHP Kyle McGowin was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg on Monday. He'll rejoin the Senators' rotation.

OF Andrew Stevenson was recalled from Triple-A Fresno and will back up all three outfield positions in D.C.

Meanwhile, RHP Max Scherzer threw a full bullpen session on Monday without any problems. He'll likely return to the Nationals' rotation either Thursday (against the Rockies) or Friday (against the Dodgers).

Injuries: 

RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out until mid-July

1B Ryan Zimmerman: Foot, 10-Day IL, status uncertain

SP Austin Voth: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, status uncertain

SP Max Scherzer: Back, 10-Day IL, out until late July

RP Jonny Venters: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely 

Coming Up:

Tuesday 7/23:  Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Wednesday 7/24: Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Thursday 7/25: Nationals vs. Rockies, 4:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Source: Rotoworld

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Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing foot returns him to the injured list

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USA Today

Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing foot returns him to the injured list

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman is on the injured list. Again.

Zimmerman was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, which also caused him to be on the injured list earlier this season from April 28 to June 27.

Outfielder Andrew Stevenson was called up to take Zimmerman’s spot on the roster. In a separate move, veteran reliever Michael Blazek was summoned from Triple-A Fresno on Monday. Reliever Kyle McGowin was sent to Double-A Harrisburg.

Zimmerman, who turns 35 years old Sept. 28, has played just 33 games this season. He played 85 games last season. The Nationals are hopeful this “partial rupture” could go away quickly. The bigger picture view is what this means for Zimmerman next year.

The team holds an $18 million option on him. It will be declined. Zimmerman knew at the beginning of the season his health would be key to every aspect of his future, If he was healthy, he thought he could still play well. He hit .333 in July, proving that idea to be true. But, he has not remained healthy.

From the start of the year, the Nationals and Zimmerman have said they hope to work something out if the contract option is not picked up. Zimmerman joined the organization in 2005. He doesn’t seem inclined to go elsewhere. 

An oblique injury stalled Zimmerman last year. This year, his foot won’t cooperate. Zimmerman could come off the injured list Aug. 1. If he does, and plays every game the rest of the season, he would max out at 87 games played. He would be provided days off when he returns, so Zimmerman is almost assured of playing fewer games this season than last.

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