The Washington Nationals are starting a very important seven game road trip tonight and need to continue building the momentum from their just completed 5-2 homestand.
They’ve cut the Atlanta Braves lead to four games in the N.L. East and will have the chance at shaving a couple more off with a strong road trip. They start with four games against the Philadelphia Phillies and then play the last three against the Miami Marlins before going into the All-Star break. The Braves play three games against the Marlins and then four against the Cincinnati Reds. So this is a good week for the Nats to close the gap.
The biggest concern is the back-end of the starting rotation with Ross Detwiler back on the disabled list and Dan Haren looking like a train wreck every fifth day. Haren’s starting the trip and I’ve got to believe he’s pitching for his job especially with the team linked to trade rumors regarding Cubs starter Matt Garza.
I do like what we’ve seen from rookie pitcher Taylor Jordan in his two starts, but the team needs another quality pitcher to shore up things if they’re going to catch the Braves and reach the N.L. Playoffs.
The Nats haven’t played consistently on the road this season and start the trip 19-24 through the first 88 games and last season they were 27-20 in road games after 88 games.
I’d really like to see GM Mike Rizzo go out and get Garza as long as the Cubs aren’t trying to break the bank with their asking price. Replacing Haren with Garza would be a huge boost because I believe the team can get by with a combination of Detwiler and Jordan as the team’s fifth starter as long as the rest of the rotation stays healthy.