Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NIH: Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again

At the pace we're going, the Nationals are likely going to flirt with some sort of record for most starting pitchers used in a season. In the past few weeks, a solid 60% of our opening day rotation has hit the disabled list. First we lost John Patterson. Next Shawn Hill went down with a known injury in his glove arm and an as-yet-unknown injury in his throwing arm. Well, last night we managed to lose one more in the form of Jerome Williams.

Look, it's bad enough when a good team can't keep their pitchers healthy. That's the problem that has been plaguing the Yankees this year. But these are the Nationals. We were just barely keeping up a 50-win pace even with the pitching staff that we had, and now we're down to two opening day starters, and a guy who started the season on the DL. Beyond that? Well, tonight we're trotting out someone for his first career start who has never put in more than 3.1 innings of work. Maybe the plus side is that the pen only gave up 1 run in 7 innings of work last night, but they're going to be paraded for another 6 innings tonight in all likelihood, and they can't keep up like that forever.

The official cause of injury for Williams is a rotator cuff strain. The only prescription for that kind of injury is resting the shoulder, icing it for a few days, then heating it for a few days. Hopefully if it is just a strain and not a more serious tear he shouldn't be gone for more than the required 15-days that his DL trip will mandate. But that's still 2-3 starts that the Nats are going to have to pull out of somewhere. If it's more severe, it could require surgery. My guess is there'll be an MRI very soon, and we'll know how serious it is in the next few days. It's a 94% success rate surgery if it comes to that, but obviously a much longer stint on the DL.

As for who'll be pitching for the Nationals these next few weeks? Bermann is the current ace of the non-DL staff, and Simontacci had a good second start winning his first game since 2003. Simontacci is also currently scheduled to start Thursday and Friday according to the list of probable pitchers on the Nationals web site.

We all knew this was going to be a rough season. It's about to get rougher.

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