“Every team that puts together a major league roster has a chance to win any game we go out there and play. That’s the great thing about baseball. You’re a starting pitcher away from turning around a streak.” – Matt Wieters.
Wieters hit the nail on the head with this statement from when he was interviewed before the team’s series against the Dodgers. The opposition originally came to D.C. with a 3-16 record since Aug. 26, making fans hopeful that the difficult competition would be an easier feat than usual. Those fans were wrong.
Dusty Baker planned to play more veteran players after the team’s series against the Braves, “We got some production out of our young guys, and got some energy tonight,” Baker said, “… and so hopefully that will transfer into [tonight] with our veteran guys against the Dodgers, and hopefully they’ll be rested and ready to go [tonight].” Too bad he couldn’t change the pitching line-up to consist of more veteran players as well. Like Wieters said, “you’re a starting pitcher away from turning around a streak,” and that isn’t exclusively for losing streaks.
Edwin Jackson, the fairly new starting pitcher for the Nationals, and AJ Cole, also new, were set to start against the Dodgers in the first two games of the series. The Nationals were swept in the series opener pitching with Jackson (4.66 ERA), against Alex Wood (2.69 ERA). Most of the time the DC team can compensate for an unequal pitching match-up with their arguably impenetrable offense, but, with some of our veteran batters either on the disabled-list or recently returned, they just couldn’t keep up.
The second game of the series the Dodgers won with a bit less of a gap (3-2) with starting pitcher Rich Hill (3.60 ERA) versus our own AJ Cole (4.88 ERA). When an offense is off it’s game, the score reflects the performance of the pitchers. This is proved true in the first two games of the series and even more so as Strasburg took the mound yesterday for the series finale.
The Nationals avoided a full series ass-whooping from the Dodgers when Strasburg (3.06 career ERA) took the mound to save the day. The team triumphed winning 7-1 against the Dodgers’ pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (3.46 ERA). One of the DC team’s favorite and most well-known veterans, Ryan Zimmerman, pitched in some effort by knocking two home-runs into the stands.
This series may or may not be a preview of the upcoming National League Championship. As we can see, both team’s performances rely heavily on their starting pitchers and key offensive batters. Hopefully the teams’ pitching rotations will put the best against the best when it matters the most, but if we are yet again dealt a hand of rookie pitchers let’s pray our batting line-up will be fully recovered and ready to compensate for weak links/bad days.