{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Nats starters give relievers more than enough rest

|
Nats starters give relievers more than enough rest play video for Nats starters give relievers more than enough rest

WASHINGTON -- One of the Nationals' greatest strengths can present a problem for some of the team's relief pitchers, but it's a good problem to have.

Washington's stellar starting rotation is capable of mowing down opposing lineups and eating innings in bunches. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez combined for 13 scoreless innings against the Marlins in the first two games, leaving minimal work for the bullpen.

Entering Thursday's series finale, three of the team's relievers had not yet appeared: right-handers Craig Stammen and Henry Rodriguez and lefty Zach Duke -- the bullpen's only southpaw.

"I can't say it's a bad thing we're doing that because we're winning, and they're pitching deep into games, which is what they want to do and actually what we want them to do," Stammen said. "The less I pitch, probably the better off our team is.

"I don't think about it too much. It's not too much of a challenge. I just have to be ready when my number gets called."

Stammen is one of manager Davey Johnson's first options for picking up multiple innings in relief. Last year he threw 88 1/3 innings across 59 appearances, going 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA.

Stammen hasn't pitched since his final Grapefruit League outing on March 28, a week ago. Since then, he has thrown some short side sessions and kept up with his conditioning, but said that's "no substitute for game action."

"You're kind of champing at the bit," he said. "You want to get out there and get the first game out of the way, because the first game is always different."

Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español