You would never know it from the last week in the standings, but the Nationals 1-4 starting pitchers are all ranked by ERA in the Top 38 of the Major Leagues.
They say if you are Top 30 in the Majors, you are an Ace since there are 30 teams. If you go by that metric as your ranking system, the Nats would have 3 aces with Stephen Strasburg ranked at #19, and Tanner Roark moved up to #21 and got below the 2.99 mark. Joe Ross is #25 overall, and Max Scherzer is tied for #38 with a 3.52 ERA.
This is not 1970 anymore, and teams now use the 5 man rotation versus the 4 man rotations of yesteryear. What do the Nationals do with Gio Gonzalez who is at a 4.73 ERA, and struggling with his command, and also is struggling with pitch count. Gio is averaging 5 2/3 innings per game which means the bullpen has to cover 3 1/3 innings on average every game for Gio. This will not work. The Nationals are 5-10 in Gonzalez’s starts this year, and worse than that is that the Nats have lost 7 straight games in Gio Gonzalez starts.
There are 76 qualifying starters who have lower (better) ERAs than Gonzalez. It should not be difficult for Rizzo to find a better alternative, but it appears as of now that Gio Gonzalez will make his next start on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds.
The Nationals also must deal with Stephen Strasburg being placed on the 15 day Disabled List.
The Nationals have a few options to replace Strasburg temporarily in the starting rotation. Our sources tell us it will be Lucas Giolito who will be getting the call-up. The situation has not been confirmed by the Nationals, and General Manager Mike Rizzo’s other option was Austin Voth.
A.J. Cole pitched on Sunday and is not an option now, and Reynaldo Lopez pitched on Saturday and is being promoted to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. Yusmeiro Petit threw on Saturday in relief of Gio Gonzalez. Taylor Hill could line up also for a Tuesday start. Out of all of these pitchers, only Cole is on the 40 man roster, but Rizzo can free up a spot because Taylor Jordan is out for the season and can be moved to the 60 Day DL which would free up his roster spot on the 40 man roster.
What will Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker do?