The Washington Nationals have a much needed day-off on Monday to allow them to work around these two doubleheaders they now have in four days because of two separate rain-outs. If they choose to — and they should, manager Dave Martinez can schedule their best pitchers against the Braves next week in a critical series even if Stephen Strasburg is not ready to go.
For the Braves, they have only scheduled Sean Newcomb for the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader and the next three games are listed as TBD. The Nationals have all four games against the Braves listed as TBD.
With the day-off on Monday, the Nationals can go with Tommy Milone on an extra day’s rest in Game 2 on Tuesday and Max Scherzer on regular rest against Sean Newcomb in Game 1. On Wednesday, the Nationals could have a scheduling dilemma as Gio Gonzalez and Jeremy Hellickson are both scheduled to be pitching tomorrow in the doubleheader and not available until Thursday.
“If we can get [Stephen Strasburg] for the last two months of the season going down to the end of it,” general managet Mike Rizzo said. “I think it will be a huge upgrade for us, and a guy that can really help carry that rotation with Mad Max.”
Is there any chance that Stephen Strasburg would be ready for Wednesday? If not, the Nationals would need to go with a spot starter in Tuesday’s doubleheader and then push Milone or Scherzer to Wednesday unless the Nationals go with a spot starter tomorrow as their 26th man.
Here’s an interesting fact that Sean Newcomb last pitched 5-days ago in a bid for a no-hitter which he failed to do with 2-outs in the 9th inning and a 134-pitch count. The Braves pushed Newcomb back because of the workload and are giving him 4 extra days of rest and have scheduled him in the first game of the doubleheader against the Nats on Tuesday. With their acquisition of Kevin Gausman, the Braves seem to have plenty of arms to pitch 4 regular starters in the series against the Nats.
Can the Nationals match the Braves and schedule their 4 best pitchers in the series? Tanner Roark is scheduled to pitch for the Nats on Sunday and won’t pitch in the series and the same for Julio Teheran of the Braves as he is pitching Sunday against the Mets.
What we do not know is the status of Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday. Maybe the Nationals could skip either Gio or Roark tomorrow and call up a spot starter to allow for Gio or Helli to pitch on Sunday and push Roark to Tuesday.
It is imperative that the Nationals are thinking ahead for next week. Get creative Dave Martinez and Mike Rizzo.
Saturday Game 1 Gio Gonzalez Game 2 Jeremy Hellickson
Sunday Tanner Roark
Tuesday Game 1 TBD Game 2 TBD