There is no doubt that your top 3 pitchers for the Washington Nationals this year have been Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, and Stephen Strasburg. Seeding them at this point by ERA is easy in that order. Scherzer and Strasburg were chosen as 2017 All-Stars, and Gio was a snub, but the simple peripherals say Gio Gonzalez is your second best pitcher, and at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter except the best matchups. The statistics say Gio Gonzalez is the best pitcher in his “home” stadium in baseball at a 1.79 ERA. Conversely, Stephen Strasburg does not pitch well in that hot/humid weather in DC and overall his home ERA is 4.13 but Strasburg is a beast on the road at a 2.37 ERA. Shouldn’t you seed these pitchers in the post-season based on putting them in their best situations to succeed?
Interestingly as you see in that chart, Max Scherzer is also slightly better on the road, but there is a huge gap for Strasburg. In the cooler weather of October, it might not matter. It is there to ponder for what it is.
The bigger issue is and maybe a good one to have is picking the #4 starter from a pool of two worthy pitchers for the post-season, and two days ago it would have seemed almost laughable to suggest anyone but Tanner Roark as the presumptive 4th starter in the NLDS — But but but, things change quickly as we know in sports and life. Edwin Jackson showed that you can’t count him out. He now has a 2.92 ERA for the 2017 Washington Nationals while Tanner Roark has been an inconsistent mess most of the season and is at a 4.70 ERA. But but but, not so fast. You have to consider the match-ups and situation. If the Nats face the Cubs in the post-season, we know Roark dazzled against the Cubs going 6 1/3 innings giving up just 2 runs while EJax struggled giving up 4 runs over 5.0 innings to those same Cubs earlier this month.
Therein lies the conundrum. It is not as easy as it looks on the surface. A tough decision will have to be made, but who knows what will transpire with another 44 days of baseball remaining to be played before Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker have to make that decision.