June 24, 2019

OPINION: Washington Nationals rotation missing? Not so fast, my friends…

Tom Boswell is one of the finest columnists ever. Not sports columnists. Columnists. He writes eloquently on a number of subjects, but his forte is baseball. He’s the writer that many nascent authors and columnists strive to be. When I read his column today in the Washington Post, I wondered if he was still suffering a bit of a hangover from the Game Three loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

This paragraph is where it all goes downhill. It just simply isn’t true.

“Or at least the Nats don’t have the Gonzalez who won 21 games this season or the Zimmermann who has been in the top 10 in the National League in ERA the past two years or the playoff veteran Jackson who was in the rotation of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals last year.”

They *do* have these three pitchers. Let me show you.

Gio Gonzalez – His one start in 2012 versus the Cardinals was a five-hit shutout. He was impressive. But, take a deeper look at Gio’s numbers and his walk rate nearly doubles on the road. Gio seems to have control issues on the road for whatever reason. Gonzalez had his strikeout stuff in Game 1, but his control failed him as it has on the road all season. He walked four or more batters six times this season. And guess where all of those games took place? Away from Nationals Park.

They have the Gio Gonzalez that won 21 games for them this season. I saw him in Game One.

Jordan Zimmermann – In 2012 versus the Cardinals: 2 GS, 10 IP, 15 H, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 9.90 ERA, 1.880 WHIP.

Want his career numbers v. the Cardinals? 0-2 in 25 2/3 IP, 38 H, 6 BB, 9.12 ERA, 1.714 WHIP.

They have the Zimmermann who has been top 10 in the NL in ERA the past two years. He’s just a different pitcher against the Cardinals. I saw him in Game Two.

Edwin Jackson – playoff veteran. Prior to his start this year, Jackson’s post-season numbers are seven games, four starts, 22 IP, 21 H 12 BB, 17 K, 4.91 ERA. In his four starts, even worse: 17 2/3 IP, 19 H, 9 BB 12 K 5.60 ERA. I’d rather have a playoff neophyte than this type of  playoff veteran starting pitcher.

They have the playoff veteran Jackson who was in the rotation of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals last year. I saw him in Game Three.

The Cards are a bad match up for the Nats and it’s odd that Boswell didn’t even do a cursory study of the statistics he usually touts before tying his column to the thesis that the Nationals are missing their starting pitchers.

And if you are curious, Ross Detwiler got hammered in his only start against the Cards this year (not that Kyle Lohse is any better against the Nats). The series isn’t over, but the Nationals need to get something out of their starting pitching for the team with the best record in baseball to keep playing deep into October.

All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

About Chris Garosi

Chris Garosi is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He has played fantasy sports since paper, pencil and fax machines were key components in every league. He’s written about fantasy sports since 2012 for District Sports Page, TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. He has his MBA from The Smith School at the University of Maryland. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

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