The Nats are in a nice position. They have a handful of guys who, if called upon, could make a spot start on short term notice. Not only that, but a few of them are top of the line prospects. Not every team can say that. Here's a look at who's waiting in the wings in Syracuse.
Lucas Giolito - RHP
Last start (7/31): 5 innings, 5 hits, 4 earned runs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Not Giolito's best. The righty has struggled in two of his last three starts at Triple-A, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits in a start on July 12th before a no-run, 7 hit performance on 7/19. He'll be back up in September, but these starts in Triple-A aren't the most encouraging.
Reynaldo Lopez - RHP
Last start (7/24): 9 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 7 strikeouts
He hasn't started for Syracuse since July 24th, but got sent down when the Nats activated Mark Melancon. He didn't show much better stuff against major league hitters either, so some more time in Triple-A couldn't hurt.
Austin Voth - RHP
Last start (8/3): 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts.
This was the best start for Voth since returning to the team in mid-July. He's still averaging almost 3 walks per game over his last 10 starts, something he didn't have as much trouble with last year. Still, he's getting better with each start since his return, which is all anyone can ask for.
AJ Cole - RHP
Last start (7/28): 7 innings, 8 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts.
Cole's been quietly putting together a nice little streak here. He's allowed 3 or less runs in each of his last 3 starts while going at least 6 innings in all of them. He has 6, 8, and 6 strikeouts in the last 3 starts, respectively, and has only walked 1 per game in those outing. He's been a much, much better pitcher the second half of the year. He's even gotten his ERA under 4.