Nationals not worried about rotation's slow start

Nationals not worried about rotation's slow start

MIAMI -- One of the more surprising developments early on this season is the struggles of Washington's starting pitching.

After right-hander Stephen Strasburg allowed six earned runs on eight hits over four innings on Tuesday, the rotation's ERA rose to 5.06 for 26th in the big leagues. Last year, the Nationals posted the seventh-best ERA at 3.60.

"I think that's kind of how it works. We've had some dominant years in the past and teams are constantly trying to adjust on us," Strasburg said. "It's our turn to adjust on them. ... Everybody's stepping up their game to face us. It's our job to get to work and get back on track. I'm not really worried about it. We're swinging the bat really well, consistently here. As long as we can minimize the damage a little bit we'll be OK."

Since opening the season with two quality starts over the first three games, the Nationals have just three over their last 11 contests.

As a result, the bullpen has been taxed. Relievers have thrown the third-most innings (50) in the Majors. They have managed to record the fourth-best ERA (2.52) despite the heavy workload.

"They're good pitchers. Obviously they're not perfect," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "Something we'll deal with. It's nothing anyone here is worried about. We know what they're capable of. Offense has to be better too."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.