The Nats might be making progress.
Granted, it's not the kind of progress you can measure. It's certainly not showing up in standings, where they have a winning percentage that looks like a batting average. But steps are being taken that are making this team if not actually better, at least less annoying.
Daniel Cabrera is gone! Did I have a hand in it? Probably not, but even that knowledge hasn't stunted the self-satisfied strut I've developed. First, they yanked him out of the rotation and exiled him to the bullpen. This reflects a certain lack of foresight on the part of management, since they had no intention of letting him pitch. He sat there without getting the call until being designated for assignment. He will not accept a minor league assignment, as he apparently believes that a sucker is born every minute and then rewarded with a general manager job. I wish him luck with that, satisfied that I am that he's off MASN and out of my life forever.
Meanwhile, with future tasing victim Scott Olsen still bothered by something or other, the Nationals are taking the opportunity to try out some new pitchers, and the early returns are . . . not completely terrible!
Ross Detwiler is 23 years old and a prospect. Over two starts, his major league is looking promising. First he gutted out five innings against Pittsburgh. Despite being backed by some infuriatingly indifferent defense, he got through it with only three runs scored against him. He could have won, but you know how it is with Washington's bullpen. Next time out, he went six against Baltimore (I was there!) and gave up only one run. According to the inflexible doctrines of Mathematics, his third start will be seven innings, no earned runs, and eight walks. I'll take that.
25 year old Craig Stammen, meanwhile, is not exactly a prospect. But he is a pitcher, and that's something that been in short supply around here. He's also made two starts, and here's the early prognosis: he works fast; he pounds the strike zone; and he's good for four innings. After that, anything goes. While the results are mixed, the change is all for the better. Stammen is at least young, cheap, and homegrown. He's certainly an improvement over Daniel Cabrera's six walks an inning (exaggeration) and Scott Olsen's 7.24 ERA (not an exaggeration, actually).
It's like the old Chinese proverb: the longest journey begins with getting Daniel Cabrera the hell off your team.
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Written by Ryan Moore