Thoughts from the weekend on the #Nats

Mike Rizzo is never far from his phone.

* One week to go until the all-star break and it won’t be easy to get to that point.

* The lack of depth in our starting pitching which many of us decried in the off-season has come back to haunt us in a big way.

* The total collapse of Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark at the same time as Stephen Strasburg is out with an injury might not have been anticipated but it’s a well-known truth, and all teams know that you need much more than 5 starters to get through a baseball season. This was not a good job by general manager Mike Rizzo.

* The collapse of the starting rotation has had a chain reaction effect on the bullpen which has been mostly very effective. With Justin Miller pitching 6 days out of 8, Brandon Kintzler and Kelvin Herrera 4 days out of 5, etc., we finally saw a meltdown on Sunday where Miller and Ryan Madson (who hasn’t been right since early season overuse) had trouble retiring anyone.

* The fact that manager Dave Martinez used his “A” bullpen and even warmed up Kelvin Herrera in a blow out begs the question: ‘what is the manager thinking?’

* The deployment of Jefry Rodriguez was completely baffling and we are not sure if that was strictly on Martinez or if this was cooked up by the entire brain trust. With an entire pitching staff on fumes, how can you have a non-usable asset for 4 days?

* The case of Austin Voth is also completely confusing. He was taken out of the Syracuse rotation seemingly to act as a safety net for the big club but like in the past the organization seems completely unwilling to actually deploy him even as they use a Double-A pitcher with less experience. If the organization is so negative in it’s evaluation of Voth, why is he holding a roster spot. He has been called up twice by the Nationals this season and was not used.

* Acquisition of a pitcher has been discussed throughout and it’s also true for several other teams who need help in that area. The problem is that there is more demand than supply and in many cases the quality available is dubious.

* A recent addition to the TalkNats rumor mill is Nathan Eovaldi a 2-time TJ patient who has been effective lately and still throws high 90’s. Given the recent news that both teams have been scouting each other it might be that there is some interest there.

* Matt Wieters is about to return and one can hope that his return does something for our pitchers. There is likely not much added offense one can expect from Wieters. The interesting question is which of the catchers loses his spot from the current tandem of Spencer Kieboom and Pedro Severino. Offensively Kieboom has been the pleasant surprise and all of a sudden Severino found a power stroke hitting his first two home runs of the season this week.

* One has to admit that the return of Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton has not produced the magic we had all hoped for. One can easily make the case that Murphy has not been an overall upgrade over Difo offensively, but Eaton has not been an upgrade over Michael Taylor. The Murphy situation is further complicated by well below average defense at 2nd base (and Murphy doesn’t add any value over Adams at 1st base).

* The inclusion of Murphy and Eaton in many starting lineups indicates a hope that they will recapture their form of previous years and it’s not an unreasonable expectation especially if you feel that Difo and Taylor are simply not good enough to win with.

* Our position in the standings has improved quite significantly in the last few days and the opposition has certainly shown that they aren’t invincible. The risk that things could still go south this week given the pitching mess is certainly there. If we get to the All-Star break in the same position where we are now and we get an effective Strasburg back for the 2nd half it wouldn’t be a bad outcome considering our pitching woes.

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