Dodgers And Nationals: Battle Of The Pitching Rotations

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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Backend Starters

This is really the difference-maker. Without Scherzer, the Nationals already had a rotation with all five pitchers projected to produce at least 3.4 fWAR according to ZiPS. Now they simply have an embarrassment of riches.

Their number four and five starters are Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. Gonzalez, someone who Julio Urias could turn into, missed some time last year but still produced 3.1 fWAR. Fister, one of the game’s premier sinker-ballers, also missed starts last year and pitched worse than his ERA indicated, but he is a very good option at the end of a rotation.

Then, Washington also has Tanner Roark waiting in the wings, and/or ready to step in if Strasburg or Zimmermann is dealt. On the other hand, the Dodgers have two pitchers at the back of their rotation who haven’t shown that they can stay healthy.

Brandon McCarthy, who pitched a career-high 200 innings last season, credits an improved offseason workout program for his ability to stay on the mound, so there’s at least some expectation that he can continue to produce 25+ starts a year over the next few seasons. Then there’s Brett Anderson, who pitched a career high 175.1 innings in 2009 and hasn’t sniffed it since. In fact, he’s thrown less than 45 innings in each of the past three seasons. That leaves veterans like Mike Bolsinger and Juan Nicasio, as well as prospects such as Zach Lee and Chris Reed, with added pressure to contribute to the major league rotation at some time this season.

Advantage: Nationals


The Dodgers still have a strong rotation, but it pales in comparison to the Nationals thanks to their combination of production and depth. While Washington has six starters projected to produce very good value, the Dodgers have two pitchers who may spend half the year or more on the disabled list. But hey, the Dodgers still have Kershaw.

Given that the Nationals and Dodgers finished with the first and second-best records in the NL last year and are projected to again do so by ESPN’s Buster Olney, the respective revamped pitching staffs will be much-discussed.

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    1. I do not remember do the NL Playoffs format go 2-3-2 ? As it would be coast to coast I imagine it would be our top 3 vs Nats top 3. I agree the odds are not good but not too bad. I really like our top three against anybody. Now their 4&5 vs ours on paper is not a good match-up. But Baseball is a wait and see game and an anything can and does happen game so ? But I will say that their everyday lineup looks to be letter than ours by quite a bit. They might be favored to win 100 games. But the Mets and Marlins look to be improved so they may face a fight in their division.

      1. 2-3-2 same as the World Series with the team with the better record getting home field….the way things set up for the Nats is they have 6 solid starting candidates….now if either team is cruising to the division title that makes it a little easier to set up your playoff rotation….but that 5 game NLDS is the fly in the ointment…anything can go wrong there as we saw last year….especially if it is 2-2 after 4 games and you need to use your ace in game 5…..Kersh-Scherzer would be classic, but if you have to use Kersh in game 5…it would be Greinke …..so a lot can happen and you might no even get there…..Hope is for best NL record and then play Wild Card team……If Dodgers had gone for that they would have played Giants…not Cards…..more incentive to have best record…..

        1. Looking at the rosters the Nats will have to be very unlucky or the Dodgers very very Lucky to get best record. You are right Kersh-Scherzer would be awesome. I would be OK with Greineke =-Zimmerman or even Ryu-Strasburg all would be great to see.

          1. I really think the Nationals are not finished…they will not have Werth until late May…..They have talked of moving a starter for more offense…

          2. You may be right. It will be an interesting year. I watch the Angels also especially last year as I could not see the Dodgers. Thank you ownership. I think the Angels will win their division again also. Seattle has improved and the A’s made a bunch of moves so who knows with them. Texas has hitters but little pitching.
            They said on the Internet that the owner Lerner is 89 and they want to get him a Championship while he is still alive. So they are going to go all out for it.

          3. Looks like you will be blacked out this year too….at least for a while….I live in Colorado now, so I can pretty much see all the games if I subscribe to MLB.com…..if you buy the whole package at once it is too high…I pay by the month……25 bucks…not bad…but when they play the Rockies I get blacked out…..but can watch the feed the next day….weird….

          4. Yes I have been following the TV mergers. ATT, Direct, Time Warner, etc. I came to the same conclusion. Time Warner sent me a 89.99 package deal and we signed up. We get their cable installed Friday afternoon. For everything we are saving about $20 a month from what we are paying now but get the Dodgers and the Pac 12 network. So I am excited that we can watch the Dodgers this year. Made me crazy last year. Missed Kershaws no hitter.

          5. Here is another thing I found out the other day..remember that this new management team’s goal was to reduce payroll? And trading Kemp was part of that along with a few other moves…Well I read an article that said the payroll this year will be upwards of 262 million dollars. almost 20 mil more than last year. Sorry you missed CK’s no hitter…..I watched it on my Root sports…..

        2. What is the guess on the line-up? Rollins, Crawford, Puig, Gonzalez, Kendrick, Uribe, Peterson, Grandal/Ellis? Then against Lefties Rollins, Kendrick, Puig, Gonzalez, Uribe, Peterson, Grandal/Ellis?

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