Quick Links

Now is the time for the Washington Nationals to address bullpen issues

Now is the time for the Washington Nationals to address bullpen issues

Early on the 2017 season has established that the Washington Nationals are in desperate need for a bullpen makeover.

Through 37 games, and a 24-13 record, non-starters have accounted for seven of the teams 13 losses.

Of the remaining six losses given to the starters, one was behind the arm of Jeremy Guthrie who allowed 12 runs in only two outs of the first inning on April 8. Following the disastrous performance, Guthrie has since opted for free agency after the Nationals sent him down to a minor league assignment. 

Essentially, the Nationals five starters have accounted for a record of 14-5 (A.J. Cole has also earned a win in his lone start). 

From there, Washington has been in 19 save situations. Of those 19 situations, the bullpen was able to pull out 11 saves. That leaves eight blown saves for the bullpen, only a 58 percent success rate. 

Fortunately for the Nationals, the bats rallied and prevented four of those games from becoming losses. Still, it remains a problem and it is one that the National have plenty of time to address.

Here is a look at the main bulk of the bullpen for the Nationals: 

Enny Romero: 2-1, 17 games, 4.86 ERA, 16.2 IP, one save, two blown saves

Blake Treinen: 0-1, 17 games, 8.10 ERA, 16.2 IP, three saves, one blown save

Matt Albers: 2-0, 14 games, 0.61 ERA, 16.1 IP, two saves, one blown save

Joe Blanton: 0-2, 14 games, 9.49 ERA, 12.1 IP

Shawn Kelley: 3-1, 13 games, 7.15 ERA, 11.1 IP, three saves, two blown saves

Koda Glover: 0-1, 13 games, 3.38 ERA, 10.2 IP, two saves, one blown save

Oliver Perez: 0-0, 10 games, 4.32 ERA, 8.1 IP

Only one of the bullpen pitchers average a sub-3.00 ERA, which is difficult to do when you are only averaging one-to-two innings a game. As a whole, the bullpen has a 5.53 ERA on the season, third worst in the majors ahead of only San Diego (5.41) and Detroit (5.60). 

As long as the rest of the NL East continues to struggle, there will be no issue with Washington making the postseason with the bats being able to carry them. To become championship contenders though, the backup pitchers need to figure it out. Dusty Baker will have chances to move guys around, like Albers, into a closer role. If not, soon it will become time for the front office to look elsewhere.

Reminder, the non-waiver trade deadline is July 31st. 

Quick Links

Nationals beat Braves, snap losing skid behind Stephen Strasburg's strong start

Nationals beat Braves, snap losing skid behind Stephen Strasburg's strong start

ATLANTA (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg struck out a season-high 11 and kept up his recent domination of the Atlanta Braves, leading Washington to a 3-2 win Sunday that stopped the Nationals' four-game losing streak.

Strasburg (5-1) allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings, beating Atlanta for the second time this season and improving to 7-1 in his last nine starts against the Braves. He is 10-8 overall against Atlanta.

He reached double digits in strikeouts for the second time this season after fanning 10 Braves on April 20.

Strasburg faded in the eighth, when Dansby Swanson hit a two-run double. Koda Glover struck out Nick Markakis to end the inning and finished the six-hitter for his third save.

Daniel Murphy hit a second-inning homer off Jaime Garcia (1-3) and the Nationals added two unearned runs in the third.

Matt Adams was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and hit into a ninth-inning double play in his debut for Atlanta, a day after he was acquired from St. Louis. Matt Kemp led off the ninth, and Adams hit a line drive that was caught by Ryan Zimmerman, who stepped on first base.

Garcia allowed three runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in eight innings with no walks.

Washington took a 3-0 lead in the third following fielding errors by Markakis in right and Garcia. Bryce Harper had a run-scoring single.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon and C Matt Wieters were given days off from the starting lineup. Rendon entered at third base in the eighth.

Braves: RHP Kris Medlen allowed one hits in six scoreless innings Saturday in his first start for Class A Florida. He missed most of 2016 with shoulder problems after his second Tommy John surgery. "That would be a real nice piece to have," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. Medlen pitched for Kansas City in 2015-16 and his last season with Atlanta was in 2013, when he was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Following an off day, RHP Jacob Turner (2-2) is expected to start when the Nationals will open a series against Seattle on Tuesday.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-4) will take a 0-3 career record in three starts against Pittsburgh into Monday night's series opener against the Pirates.

Quick Links

2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals

2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals

A week ago, the Nationals were looking unstoppable. Bryce Harper was hitting walkoff dingers left and right, there were multiple winning streaks, and the bullpen was only sorta bad. 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

A week's worth of games later - against the Braves, Pirates and Phillies, no less - and the Nats don't look nearly as stainless. Harper's hitting under .200 since his Mother's Day walkoff, the team lost 5 of 6, and the bullpen turned back into a pumpkin. Because of that, there's a new team at the top of the Power Rankings this week. Who is it? To the rankings! 

30. MIAMI MARLINS

2017 Record: 15-28
Previous Ranking: 24
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Dee Gordon (.318/.400/.364 last week)

Stanton hasn't homered in over two weeks, a stretch of 12 games. After going 2-8 over the last 10, including that weird Dodgers game, the Marlins have seen better weeks.  

29. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 16-30
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance: Brad Hand (.300/.500/.600 last week)

Wil Myers' underwhelming season continues. The outfielder is hitting .150 over the last week, and only .219 over the last month. The Padres best position player is only worth .6 bWAR, and that's 5th-best on the team.

28. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 15-26
Previous Ranking: 23
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Daniel Nava (.429/.429/.571 last week)

They ran into Texas at exactly the wrong time. Getting starts that are consistently like Aaron Nola's last one will be huge for his development this season. 

27. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

2017 Record: 18-25
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Lorenzo Cain (.087/.125/.087 last week)

They're starting to play better, but upcomming series with the Yankees and Indians aren't making life any easier for KC. Jason Vargas (?!) has been their most valuable player this year (2.0 bWAR). 

26. ATLANTA BRAVES

2017 Record: 18-23
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Notable Performance: Matt Kemp (.375/.423/.708 last week)

Losing Freeman for three months because of some dumb unspoken beef is just a testament to how stupid unwritten baseball rules are. The silver lining to this year, though, is that the Braves are going to fleece some team for Matt Kemp in July. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE