The familiar scene from last year; Only thing that has changed is a smaller Skittles logo
Last month’s rain set the wettest year in Washington D.C.’s history at over 71 inches of precipitation, and the wet stuff continues like we saw with the inconvenient rains of 2018 that have returned and wreaking havoc on the Washington Nationals rotation and roster. With last night’s postponement and a day/night doubleheader for Wednesday, the Nationals either have a need for an extra starter on Wednesday or Saturday. By MLB rules, the Nationals will get to call-up a 26th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader, but it does not have to be a starting pitcher.
In last night’s game for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies, Joe Ross was pulled at 5.0 innings of shutout baseball and a pitch count of 57 to preserve him just in case they decide to call him up on Saturday and go with this configuration:
- Tuesday: Arrieta vs. Corbin
- Wednesday Game 1: Eflin vs. Fedde
- Wednesday Game 2: Pivetta vs. Scherzer
- Thursday: Nola vs. Strasburg
- Friday: Keuchel (if activated) vs. Sanchez
- Saturday: Foltynewicz vs. Ross (if activated)
- Sunday: Soroka vs. Corbin
- Monday: Day-off
There certainly is no guarantee of any of this as it might make more sense to match-up with Max Schezer against Eflin tomorrow with Fedde against Pivetta in the second game of the doubleheader. There is also the question on Friday as to whether the Atlanta Braves will activate Dallas Keuchel to pitch although the Atlanta beat writers believe that is the case.
There is rain scheduled for the Washington, D.C. area through Thursday and these pop-up thunderstorms are unpredictable as you saw last night in reality versus the forecast. The changes in the weather are the other great unknown. If Joe Ross is called up for Saturday, the Nationals will have to make a roster move and could certainly option Adrian Sanchez back to the minor leagues to make room for Ross. The advantage of doing that is the Nationals could skip Fedde for a turn in the rotation with the day-off on Monday and go with Schezer in Miami on Tuesday followed by Strasburg, Sanchez on Thursday, Corbin on Friday in Detroit, Fedde on Saturday, and Scherzer on Sunday in Detroit.
For historians of Washington, D.C. baseball, there is an interesting parallel here to 2012 when John Lannan was pitching for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs after he lost his rotation spot to Ross Detwiler in a controversial move between manager Davey Johnson and general manager Mike Rizzo. The Nationals had a scheduled doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves and called-up Lannan. The night before, the Nats entered the game against the Braves with a 3 ½ game lead over the Braves but blew a 9-0 lead to lose 11-10 and watch their lead shrink to 2 ½ games. In game 1 of the Saturday doubleheader, the Nats were blanked 4-0 by Ben Sheets over Edwin Jackson. The lead shrunk to 1 ½ and the Braves were feeling it. Lannan was shaky in the first inning and gave up 2-runs but then settled down and was masterful throwing a 6.0 inning shutout after that and righting the ship for the Nats. Lannan could have mailed it in after losing his rotation spot to Detwiler, and he quite possibly saved the Nats season as they rolled from there and never looked back. Lannan went 4-1 for the Nationals in spot duty in 2012 and was an unsung hero in the Nationals first season making the playoffs.
With all the moving parts, we will see how this all works out.
Joe Ross could be the spot starter on Saturday