Rotations, Rotations – The odd reason the Nats have the best rotation in baseball

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On opening day, there were no questions about the rotation. Now, there are, and they aren't that bad.

On opening day, there were no questions about the rotation for the Nats. Now, there are, and they aren’t that bad.

Ever since the end of the steroid era, pitching has been the key element of most teams. If they haven’t developed their own ace rotation, they’ve signed one. And at this moment, it’s seeming like they’re only getting more important and bigger contracts.

Clayton Kershaw is going to be payed roughly $147,000 dollars per inning he pitches for the next seven years. Justin Verlander is commanding 180 million for the next five or six years. Felix Hernandez has also gotten a huge seven 7 year deal. Rookies like Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, Michael Wacha and players before their fifth year or not free agents yet like Stephen Strasburg & Jordan Zimmermann are expected to get about as much. Unfortunately, one pitcher does not win a world series.

The four men behind the ace are just as important, if not more. If you only had one reliable winning pitcher, you would win around 1/5 of your games. Having three good pitchers has always been considered acceptable. However, baseball has probably never seen a time like this in which the rotations are so strong for so many teams.

But who’s rotation is the best heading into this season?

While I love what the Red Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, A’s and Cardinals have, I think that it is the Nats. And not for the reason you may think.

As a Nationals fan last year, I learned something very important. There is a need for more than five pitchers in a rotation. You need that number six and seven as much as you need your ace. Last year, the Nats were supposed to be dominant with everything. However, they surprised everyone, starting the year in a slump and with really only two reliable pitchers. While they finished off better than they started, it was an annoying year. Strasburg was hurt for about a month, and Ross Detwiler barely played half a season. They called up players from Triple-A, but it wasn’t the same. While Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark held things up for the most part, the Nats realized that not having a sixth starter in the lineup killed them, or at least partially. (Not hitting until September also probably hurt.)

This year, they have too many problems with that. There is an argument over who will have the number one slot, but I think everyone knows it’s Strasburg’s to lose. This is the year he needs to prove he is an ace. Gonzalez, Zimmermann and Fister were all very good last year, but the number five slot is a curious thing. Some people say that Taylor Jordan or Tanner Roark should take it, while normal number five Ross Detwiler can move to the bullpen as a power lefty. I disagree, and say keep the National Det in the rotation, and have Jordan and Roark as backup. But it really comes down to what new manager Matt Williams sees in Spring Training.

The Red Sox & Cardinals probably have the best depth with players like Lester, Buchholz, Wainwright and Wacha, and the Tigers have probably have the better rotation, but the depth nor the rotation is as complete for any one of them is as good as the one in our Nation’s Capitol.

However, offseason predictions aren’t always correct. Who had the Red Sox winning the world series last year? (Hint: Literally nobody)

But even with the unreliability of predictions, I still like the Nats’ chances.

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DC Sports roundup: Jan 24

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Hey everybody.

I’ve decided to add a new feature to the blog called DC Sports Roundup. If it’s successful, I’ll make it a weekly thing.

This was a shockingly slow week in sports for DC. You know that because the main news I’m about to report is about the Wizards.

Lately, being a hipster is “in.” Their style, facial hair and Instagram filters all feel like they’re from an earlier time. However, the Wizards are not so happy to returning to an earlier time. The Wizards are currently .500 for the 5th time. Not once have they gone above. ¬†Each time they make it back, they fall once again. They’ve already done that this week with a loss to the Celtics at home – and they bounced back in Phoenix. They have a chance tonight for Wall, Gortat and Beal to lead them past the weak defensive and offensive Utah Jazz. If that doesn’t work – then we can call it a curse. In other John Wall related news, a source familiar with the subject says that “The NBA is really pushing for John Wall to be in the Dunk Competition this year.”

In a nice break from the usual, there is some rare Nationals news. All but two of their arbitration eligible players have been locked up, and they have announced their Spring training non-roster invitees with big names like A.J. Cole and Brian Goodwin, both considered a big part of the future of the team. Also happening this weekend was Natsfest, the yearly convention where fans warm their heart by seeing the boys of summer. I cannot speak for everyone, but I enjoyed it much more than last year’s, and got autographs and pictures galore.

(From top to bottom: Me with Drew Storen, Reliever, Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, Commentators and my autographs for the day)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embedded image permalinkSo all in all, a very slow news week in DC. The Super Bowl can’t come soon enough for some of us.¬†