The Nationals' pitching rotation is best viewed from behind.
The recent Cardinals/Nats series told us quite a bit about Washington's rotation. On Thursday, #3 starter Daniel Cabrera did all the little things that make him Daniel Cabrera, as opposed to someone you want on your team: in six innings he walked five, hit a batter, and threw four wild pitches. That he didn't get the loss is a testament to the Cards' eagerness to waste opportunities, which are never in short supply when Cabrera sullenly shuffles his way to the mound.
Friday saw young Jordan Zimmermann, the rotation's #4, take his turn. It was a bad start, but in a much more pleasing way than Cabrera's. 5.2 innings, three homers, five earned runs, and the loss. BUT! Six strikeouts, no walks. After watching Cabrera's deadly fear of the strike zone, Zimmermann's style was gloriously refreshing – he pitched like a man. It didn't work this time, but it has before and it will again. The Cardinals beat us; Jordan Zimmermann didn't.
Finally, on Saturday we got the fifth guy out of five, Shairon Martis. The husky young Curacaoian (real word? who cares?) put himself on the short list of great Nats pitching performances, staying strong through nine innings. Six strikeouts, no walks, one run, and a complete game victory. Following this spectacular performance, the heavens opened up and rained out the Sunday game, so we didn't lose.
Washington's rotation is oddly constructed, at least from a viewing perspective. It starts with John Lannan, and there's nothing wrong with him that an eyebrow wax wouldn't fix. After him, however, come drunken hillbilly/lousy pitcher Scott Olsen and the aforementioned petulant coward Cabrera, a combo that makes even the most dedicated fan want to lean on the fast forward button. At the back, though, is sweet, sweet pitching booty. Just assume the usual caveats about injury, but Zimmermann/Martis is something to look forward to, and they won't be bringing up the rear much longer.
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Written by Ryan Moore