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The Nats rotation is a cause for concern? But I thought that was impossible!

Oct 9, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

Stephen Strasburg AP AP

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post on September 2:

The four-man rotation, primed for October that I’ve described is Gio GonzalezJordan ZimmermannEdwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. So all of the pundits who say the Nats can’t go to the Series or even win it, just because they won’t have Strasburg, can kiss my press pass.

Barry Svrgula of The Washington Post, today:

Zimmermann’s start Monday continued a worrisome trend … Mix in poor starts from Jackson and Detwiler in blowout losses Sept. 28 and 30, respectively, with the shaky outings from Gonzalez and Zimmermann to open the postseason, and the Nationals’ most recent turn through the rotation against St. Louis has yielded 112 / innings, 16 walks and a 13.89 ERA.

Svrgula ends his column by noting that the Number One Starter Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken had a great start against the Cardinals just before his shutdown.

No, I don’t think that the Nats are toast. It’s tied for cryin’ out loud, and Edwin Jackson is capable of shutting anyone down. But the lesson of Game 2 — and really any playoff game in history — is that anything can happen. Your top pitchers can have bad outings sometimes, no matter how great they were in the regular season.

Which means that you can never have enough good pitchers. And which means that boorishly mocking anyone who dared suggest that maybe — just maybe — a team would like to have a pitcher like Stephen Strasburg in the playoffs was kinda silly.

  1. DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Don’t make Rizzo angry!!

  2. stoutfiles - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    If the Nats lose, especially in a 5 game series, the media will be on the Nats nonstop for not pitching Strasburg and what could have been.

    • e5again - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      And rightfully so!

  3. moseskkim - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I know u gotta be cautious with strasburg but man.. If u have a talent like that and in ur the playoffs, u only have 3 series and ur champions. It’s not gonna be as easy as it was to get back here.

  4. nolanwiffle - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    When Strasburg goes 23-5 next year with a 2.79 ERA, articles like this will seem ridiculous in hindsight. Oh, and he’ll also likely be wearing a World Series ring on his off days.

    • El Bravo - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      Gonna kick yourself real hard if Strasburger gets hurt next March or April. I hope you knocked on all the wood furnishings in your immediate area.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      28 decisions, huh? He will need at least 220 innings for that

    • phinphan85 - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      This is your teams first playoff series and you’re tied 1-1. Don’t get too cocky and ahead of yourself. It’s okay to disagree with the decisions that your teams front office make every once in a while. All every other fan asks is that you admit it instead of stand by it 100% no matter what. If they win it all, great, but its not easy and repeating is even harder. Hopefully Strasburg is healthy the rest of his career or the Nats front office won’t be around long enough to reap the benefits.

      • nolanwiffle - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        Where, in what I wrote, did it say I’m a Nats fan?
        What’s a Nats fan to do if they, you know, actually agree with an organizational decision?

  5. chill1184 - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    I have two rules for playoffs

    1. Anyone can beat anyone

    2. No one is a lock for the Championship

    • beefytrout - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      Case in point: The Phillies got beat in the NLDS last year, and they had a pretty good rotation if I remember correctly.

    • stoutfiles - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      Aren’t 1 and 2 basically the same thing?

    • moogro - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      That’s only true in one game. Not in a series. You can’t win a series with 4 4.50 ERA starters against 4 3.50 ERA starters. Hasn’t happened in the history of baseball.

      • madhatternalice - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        So, when the 1996 Yankees (Starter ERA: 4.73) won the World Series against the Braves (Starter ERA: 3.20), that actually didn’t happen?

        1996 is just one example, but since you didn’t do any research before posting a lie, I don’t feel compelled to check on this more.

  6. nobody78 - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    “And which means that boorishly mocking anyone who dared suggest that maybe — just maybe — a team would like to have a pitcher like Stephen Strasburg in the playoffs was kinda silly.”

    When you say “anyone,” you don’t mean Boswell, right? Because he said, quite plainly, and in that article to which you link, that the Nationals would like, even “love,” to have Strasburg:

    “The Nats watch all this with hard eyes. They’d love to have Strasburg. But they’re already digesting his absence and figuring out how to use it.”


    “The Nats are better with Strasburg, his 15-6 record and 2.94 ERA.”

    Boswell was saying that that Nats are still an excellent team capable of winning in the playoffs. They are.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      Nice try – but the tone of the article is pretty clear. He stated that Nats will not have any significant let down without Strasburg, and anyone who disagreed can….

  7. stex52 - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I will count this as the least surprising headline so far in the postseason. Never walk away from ace pitching.

  8. Gamera the Brave - Oct 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Sorry – I just think that’s a cool name…

  9. xmatt0926x - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    No matter what happens with the Nats this postseason, their fans are going to learn a lesson. That lesson is what the fans of the usual baseball playoff teams have been saying all along. It’s all a quick roll of the dice in the playoffs. Even with Strasburg they may have not done well. Just look at the first few days so far. Matt Cain, Bumgarner, Gio, Zimmerman, etc. These are top shelf starters and it’s meant nothing so far. Having Halladay, Hamels, and Lee meant nothing last year. Quick, high pressure series where every bad bounce and break is magnified and just a couple off nights by your pitching or hitting ends your year whereas in the regular season you brush it off and move on. This is the lesson for several Nats fans who thought they were just going to roll through everyone and it dodn’t matter if Strasburg pitched or not. I believe one very dismissive Nats commenter here said “Line them up” when talking about potential playoff opponents. After all, look how well Gio, Zimmerman, and Jackson have done all year. Now you see it’s not that simple. Outside of the 2009 Yankees, none of the World Series winners in the past 5 or 6 years have been the best team.

    • RBIs Win Games - Oct 9, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      My cynicism kicks in here. I’m not cynical about the Nats shutting down Strasburg, because, as you point out, he could have a bad postseason game, and he looked pretty worn down towards the end. But a series sweep with only one home game misses a lot of gate. There is disincentive to sweep, as the pool is smaller. Also, a 4 or 5-game series with one off-day is more like the regular season in terms of pitcher rest and player body rhythms and routines. Adam LaRoche, a veteran, said he didn’t like all the off-days.

  10. schmedley69 - Oct 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Boswell should have his press pass, as well as his man card, revoked. That guy is a clueless pansie. The Nats, their fans and their media have really gone overboard with their arrogance and self importance. They have always had low attendance and TV ratings, yet now they act like it’s their birth right to be given a prime time playoff slot. They have already crowned themselves 5-time World Series Champions before they have even won 1 playoff game. It’s time for rest of the NL East team’s fans to unite and form an alliance against these losers. I am calling on all Phillies, Mets and Braves fans, as well as Old Gator to join me (not sure if there are any other Marlins fans besides him). It’s time to put all of our collective rooting interests against the Nats and ensure that they are one and done and become the laughing stock of baseball. Who’s with me?!?

  11. Kevin S. - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Would Strasburg’s presence on the postseason roster have really caused Zimmermann to pitch any better? Doubtful. It really doesn’t matter what Gio, Zimm and E-Jax do, because they were pitching anyway. Detwiler is the replacement here.

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