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The many forms of the Nationals' rotation

Morning roundup

Back in April, the Nationals headed north with a four-man starting rotation. Livan Hernandez waited in the wings - the veteran the Nats had signed to suck up innings and hold Stephen Strasburg's place - but they had four other starters who had won spots out of spring training and would anchor the staff all year - John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Garrett Mock and Craig Stammen.

Well, you can see where this going. Only Stammen remains in the rotation from that original four. Lannnan is trying to find his sinker, his most important pitch, in Class AA Harrisburg. Marquis made three starts before heading to the disabled list and eventually elbow surgery. Mock made one start before he and the Nationals realized he needed surgery to fix a disk in his neck. And Stammen is in the rotation, but only after a stint at Class AAA Syracuse, and despite a 5.76 ERA.

The amazing thing, through all the permutations of the Nationals' starting rotation, is that it managed to hold its own. The first reason is Hernandez, who, after the entire league spurned him, threw 117 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .261 batting average and, after two combined years with a 5.74 ERA, slapped up a 3.37. The other obvious reason is Strasburg, who of course dominated in all seven starts he made.

Ten pitchers started games for the Nationals - Lannan, Marquis, Mock, Stammen, Hernandez, Scott Olsen, Luis Atilano, Matt Chico, J.D. Martin and Strasburg.

"I'll tell you what, Atilano did a good job, he'll continue to do a good job," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "J.D. kept us in games. You can't really figure guys will come in from Triple A and do that. That part of it has been a big positive."

The volatility of the first half will yield only to more volatility in the second. Olsen and Marquis will likely come back at some point. Lannan is in a holding pattern. Jordan Zimmermann, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler are getting ready to debut.

The reinforcements - most of whom the Nationals expected to have earlier - could be a boon. Atilano, as much as helped keep the staff afloat, has been pitching pretty much like a minor leaguer lately. The Nationals are 1-5 in his last six starts, during which he's pitched more than 5 1/3 innings once and put up a 5.87 ERA.

Not to single out Atilano, but the Nationals can't keep relying on pitchers they assumed would be staffing Syracuse. Soon, they won't have to.

"You've got to eventually get your force back," Riggleman said. "You've got eventually get your Strasburg, Zimmerman, Lannan, Marquis. They got to be in there sooner or later, or you're going to miss something there."

The arms will soon start flowing in. One thing, thankfully, is certain: Strasburg starts tonight.

FROM THE POST

Even if they don't contend, the Nationals have an important second half ahead.

Boz chatted and argued why the Nats need to sign Adam Dunn.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Pawtucket 8, Syracuse 2: Luis Atilano, trying to stay sharp during a long layoff, allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out none. Jason Botts went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Harrisburg 9, Altoona 7: Jesus Valdez went 3 for 5 with two home runs and six RBI. Zech Zincola struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn the save lower his ERA at Class AA to 1.33.

Potomac 6, Kinston 1: Josh Johnson went 2 for 4 with two doubles. Tyler Moore went 2 for 3 with a double, a home run and a walk. A.J. Morris allowed no earned runs on two hits and no walks while striking out five in five innings.

Rome 9, Hagerstown 6: Justin Bloxom went 3 for 4 with a walk. Destin Hood went 1 for 4 with a walk.

Vermont 7, Aberdeen 6: David Freitas went 3 for 5 with a double, raising his average to .397. Aaron Barrett allowed no earned runs in 2 1/3 innings on two hits and no walks, striking out four.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Chad Cordero declined a minor league assignment with the Mariners and became a free agent, Larry Stone reports.

Mark Zuckerman handed out his midseason grades to every Nats player.

Bill Ladson takes a guess at what the Nats might be able to get for Adam Dunn in a trade.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Chien-Ming Wang , Craig Stammen , Garrett Mock , Jason Marquis , John Lannan , Livan Hernandez , Pitching rotation , Scott Olsen , Stephen Strasburg  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Two Nationals minor leaguers suspended
Next: In-game chat: Nationals vs. Marlins

Comments

Ladson didn't guess at what the Nats might get at all. He just punted.

He did, however, hazard a guess that Wang would return in August. I have very much been anticipating his return, but he hasn't even pitched any rehab starts yet. The last we heard was from Boz, who said that Wang heard a pop in his shoulder, and that this could be a good thing. Since nobody has said they are shutting him down, we can guess at least that it wasn't bad.

Wang definitely seems to be an afterthought for most fans who aren't Taiwanese, and that might be the realistic approach. However, if he somehow comes back to be the pitcher he used to be, then the Nats will have solved another problem in their rotation.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | July 16, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Now that he is a free agent, due us fans a favor and BRING CHAD BACK!!!!

Riggs said, "You can't really figure guys will come in from Triple A and do that." it makes me wonder what Martis has done to piss off Rizzo. His numbers are not that bad.

Martis is 6-5 with a 3.78 ERA 96 innings pitched 40 earned runs 35 BB 59 K's and 8 HR given up.

Posted by: hansenjo | July 16, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to believe that C-M Wang is Syd Finch; A figment of someone's imagination. Until he starts showing up in boxscores on a rehab assignment, he's just a name occupying a space on the 40-man roster for me. At least with Olsen, Lannan, & Detwiler we can see tangible results on a weekly basis.

Posted by: BinM | July 16, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Chien-Ming Wang is absolutely NOT getting ready to debut. He has not started a rehab assignment yet and no one has even hazarded a guess as to when he might. It becomes clearer every day that he will not throw a pitch in anger for the Nats this season. He probably won't throw one for anybody else in his career, it is starting to look like.

I can understand why Nats officials keep saying he is getting closer but I can't understand why you reporters keep buying it. Detwiler and Zimmermann are both rehabbing so they are getting close. Olsen is starting to rehab, albeit in Rookie league. Wang is throwing batting practice and hearing his shoulder pop! That is not getting close to a debut!

Posted by: Section314 | July 16, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Bit of a disconnect between Rigs' comments on Atilano and his recent performance, including yesterday?

Yeah, why not try Martis? Or what about Chuck James? For some reason, I still hold out hope for this guy.

Off topic, if Rigs continues to trot out Nyjer in CF every day, the latter would at his present pace amass more than 100 strikeouts without hitting a homer. As Carpy might say, how exclusive is that club?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 16, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

By the way Chase Lambin was voted MVP at the AAA All-Star game.

http://syracuse.chiefs.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100714&content_id=12253010&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp&sid=t552

Posted by: hansenjo | July 16, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@CapPeterson1:
If we need to replace Atilano in the rotation, I would call up Matt Chico before Shairon Martis or Chuck James.

Posted by: bertbkatz | July 16, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

With Atilano getting clobbered last night in SYR, It's the Battle for the #5 spot this weekend...
Friday - Detwiler is scheduled for Harrisburg v Altoona.
Saturday - Martis scheduled for Syracuse v Pawtucket; Lannan scheduled for Harrisburg v Altoona; Olsen scheduled for Hagerstown v Rome.

Posted by: BinM | July 16, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

OT for this blog, but I wanted to post my get-well wishes for Tracee, and comments are closed for the column in which she talked about her recent rotator cuff surgery. (Enjoyed the column, btw, even if it did come about as the result of an unfortunate bus/La-Z-Boy trajectory.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 16, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Luis Atilano, trying to stay sharp during a long layoff, allowed five earned runs on seven hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out none.

"I'll tell you what, Atilano did a good job, he'll continue to do a good job," Manager Jim Riggleman said

Gather Gentleman Jim didn't get woken up last night with a phone call by the Nats Brain Trust to pass on the latest regarding Luis!

BTW last night on MLB Network, Thom Verducci gave the Nats a mid-year review C+ and said if they can get decent starting pitching and play better up the middle they could be a rather interesting in the second half! Thanks Thom we all ready know that, all expect of course "Uncle Ted and Minnie Me","Stan the Plan Man", "Mike Company Man Rizzo" and "Gentleman Jim"!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 16, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

BertB,

You want Chico up as #5? That's fine. Really don't have too strong a preference for one over another--do you?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 16, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"Wang definitely seems to be an afterthought for most fans who aren't Taiwanese, and that might be the realistic approach. However, if he somehow comes back to be the pitcher he used to be, then the Nats will have solved another problem in their rotation."

Cut the bull and just sign "the Chief". He has a far better chance of helping this team with his repaired shoulder than does Wang.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"By the way Chase Lambin was voted MVP at the AAA All-Star game."

Lambin can replace Maxwell.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Just do it Mike Rizzo. Now or in the offseason, find a way to just DO IT. Talk is cheap.

"With Atilano getting clobbered last night in SYR, It's the Battle for the #5 spot this weekend...
Friday - Detwiler is scheduled for Harrisburg v Altoona.
Saturday - Martis scheduled for Syracuse v Pawtucket; Lannan scheduled for Harrisburg v Altoona; Olsen scheduled for Hagerstown v Rome."

"General manager Mike Rizzo said the team's biggest need is starting pitching. The Nationals have their ace in Strasburg, who has been dominating since he made his Major League debut on June 8. But Rizzo would like to add another dominant pitcher to the staff. The team is hoping that Jordan Zimmermann, who is ahead of scheduled after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, can make his comeback before the season is over. The Nationals look at Strasburg and Zimmermann as a 1-2 combination in the rotation by next year."

"Our biggest need now and at the Trade Deadline is starting pitching," Rizzo said. "That's everyone's biggest need and we are included in that. We need more starting pitching. Premier, front-line starting pitching is what everybody needs to get to the next level of championship-caliber clubs. We are no different."

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

And I have been saying for a very long time to forget Chien-Ming Wang. Look at Olsen who has similar surgery? The guy pitched two really horrendous years in a row before the Yankees let him go. It is now well over 3 years since he has pitched decently and for an entire season?

Let it go AK. He isn't coming back.

Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Every time Wang's recovery and ETA are mentioned, it's with differing estimates. He's due to begin again, soon. Hasn't started throwing at all, yet. Don't expect him back till next year (if at all). Which is it? Kind of like the blindfolded men touching an elephant - they're all describing the same animal but with wildly divergent results.

Posted by: samantha7 | July 16, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Who is this 'Wang' guy people keep referring to? And didn't get sign a marquee player in the off-season. What am I missing?

Posted by: richs91 | July 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Who is this 'Wang' guy people keep referring to? And didn't get sign a marquee player in the off-season. What am I missing?

Posted by: richs91 | July 16, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

At least one noun, and probably a conjunction, I think.
*****************
And didn't get sign a marquee player in the off-season. What am I missing?
Posted by: richs91 | July 16, 2010 12:31 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

just in case you were serious
www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/wangch01.shtml

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Adam--Zimmermann, 2 Ns

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

bertbkatz,

Chico has done worse than Martis.

Posted by: hansenjo | July 16, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Cordero back, just 'cuz, but this isn't the either/or, here.

Wang got $2MM just for *the rights to find out* if he'll ever pitch well again. That was the deal, it's sunk money, might as well let him rehab, it doesn't cost any more to let him try.

I have no real expectation The Cheif will actually be any good, but then I wasn't expecting much from Livan, either, and that deal is already solidly in the black, money very well spent. I'd just like to hear that theme on the radio, once more. Even if it is in the 6th inning.

****************
Cut the bull and just sign "the Chief". He has a far better chance of helping this team with his repaired shoulder than does Wang.
Posted by: periculum | July 16, 2010 11:46 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I before E, except after C--not 2 letters later, immediately after. Sorry about that, Chief.
Too much caffeine, I guess.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

2nd Half To Do List:

1. Bench Morgan.
2. Bench Kennedy
3. Bench Nieves
4. Send down Atilano.
5. Send down Stammen.
6. Move Bernadina to center.
7. Start Morse in right.
8. Start Gonzo at 2nd.
9. Sign some MLB starting pitchers (not minor leaguers but Major Leaguers).
10. Send down Willie Harris.
11. Let Strasburg go 8.
12. Look for a replacement for Riggleman.

Now that's a start!

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 16, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Let me know when they get to the wang.

Oops. Sorry. Too much caffeine. Or not enough.

----

Which is it? Kind of like the blindfolded men touching an elephant - they're all describing the same animal but with wildly divergent results.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 16, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I second that emotion.

---

I'd just like to hear that theme on the radio, once more. Even if it is in the 6th inning.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 16, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It's almost comical now to think back to late May when Lannan and Clippard were doing well and the media was saying we would be great when those starters injured would be returning in Aug. or whenever...

We fans got lost in the fact that pitchers or even hitters returning from injuries need time to get back into the flow...with pitchers this is even more crucial..will they return to previous form??? Wang and Zimmerman are at best question marks until they prove themselves...no more, no less...

Posted by: pentagon40 | July 16, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

1. Ok, but if he's still on the 25, now you're playing a man short, because seriously, who is Nyjer going to pinch-hit for, Willie Harris?
2. Pretty much already done, quite some time ago, but see #1.
3. He's the back-up catcher. Pudge can't catch every game, and with no catcher, you get a lot of passed balls.
4, 5: OK. And bring up who? More AAA pitching.
6. Works for me.
7. Given 6, that's what's left, but I'd rather have Corey Hart. (Yes, yes, I know: I won't even get Jose Bautista. Still.)
8. OK for this year, but he won't last. They're going to need someone on the bench--might as well be a switch-hitting veteran with a little power.
9. Most MLB pitchers are pitching for MLB teams at the moment. Whom did you have in mind?
10. More likely released, but you're paying him anyway, so unless there's someone else...
11. Paging Dr. Andrews... Dr. Andrews, to DC, STAT...
12. Now, to be fair, if the roster is as bad as 1-10 imply, it's not entirely his fault. What if they do all those things, and (as I assume is your contention) it improves the team, and they start winning? Doesn't he keep his job if the team wins?

*************************
2nd Half To Do List:
1. Bench Morgan.
2. Bench Kennedy
3. Bench Nieves
4. Send down Atilano.
5. Send down Stammen.
6. Move Bernadina to center.
7. Start Morse in right.
8. Start Gonzo at 2nd.
9. Sign some MLB starting pitchers (not minor leaguers but Major Leaguers).
10. Send down Willie Harris.
11. Let Strasburg go 8.
12. Look for a replacement for Riggleman.
Now that's a start!
Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 16, 2010 1:16 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The thing that worries me the most about the second half of the season is Dibble and Carpenter! :-(

Posted by: Badwisky | July 16, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

At least one noun, and probably a conjunction, I think.
*****************
And didn't get sign a marquee player in the off-season. What am I missing?
Posted by: richs91 | July 16, 2010 12:31 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse
***********************************************
Sec3, you are the best....

Posted by: Sunderland | July 16, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

There is Strausberg and that is it

Nobody else on the team is even slightly worth of their actual spot on the team

It is a joke

We need to spend money and GET GOOD PITCHERS

Posted by: Bious | July 16, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I think that Zimmurmin and Donn are worth keeping, along with that 'Strausberg' fella.

*************************************
There is Strausberg and that is it

Nobody else on the team is even slightly worth of their actual spot on the team

It is a joke

We need to spend money and GET GOOD PITCHERS

Posted by: Bious | July 16, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: frenchyb | July 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I think that Zimmurmin and Donn are worth keeping, along with that 'Strausberg' fella.

*************************************
There is Strausberg and that is it

Nobody else on the team is even slightly worth of their actual spot on the team

It is a joke

We need to spend money and GET GOOD PITCHERS

Posted by: Bious | July 16, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: frenchyb | July 16, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Also Desdemona.

---

I think that Zimmurmin and Donn are worth keeping, along with that 'Strausberg' fella.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 16, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"Also Desdemona."
I know I'm late, but no--she always chokes late and close.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 16, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The Nats' pitchers just got done sweeping the Marlins.

Unfortunately the Nats' hitters only won one of them.

If this team ever got its hitting and pitching together...but of course I guess one could say that about any team in MLB, and the ones that don't, well...

Posted by: poorskins | July 19, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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