The Nationals have exactly 28 games left to play this season and according to their website, the rotation is:

That means, assuming the rotations stays the same, Livan, Lannan and Marquis will get 6 more starts each, the other 2 get 5. Of course, we know, that this isn’t the case. For one thing, Yunesky Maya will be getting some starts. So how should the rotation actually go? Here’s my take on each guy, and whether they should remain a starter for September.

Livo – Re-signed for next year, he is the elder statesmen of the group, and has been the best pitcher on the team this year. His 3.7 WAR (according to Baseball Reference) is not only the best by a pitcher on this year’s team, it’s the best since John Patterson’s 4.9 and Esteban Loiza’s 3.8 in 2005. He won’t catch Patterson, but he has the opportunity to go past Loiza this month. Regardless, he will and should continue to start, if only to bring some stability. STARTER

Lannan – He hasn’t been great this year, but since returning from injury, he’s made 6 starts. In those starts, he’s pitched 36 innings, given up 38 hits, struck out 22, walked only 5, and given up 13 earned runs. His 3.25 ERA has been very impressive, and the Nats need to see if can keep this up. If he can, they will pencil him in for April. If not, it’s another question mark for 2011. STARTER

Marquis – Jason Marquis stunk on ice early this season. Since coming back from injury, he’s been ok, and his 4.15 ERA is probably a bit better than I expected him to deliver. If he could do that for a whole season, it’d be nice. But he hasn’t had a ton of innings in his starts, which is the main reason why he was hired. I suppose they want to play him if he can go next year, due to the big paychecks, but his job of veteran innings eater was taken by Livan this year. I’m not signing his checks, and I think even at his best he’s replaceable. BENCH

Jordan Zimmermann – No, he’s not gonna make you forget about the guy who is having Tommy John surgery today, but he’s looked real good in his last start. He’s going in to next year as the presumptive 2011 ace, so he needs the work. And right now he might be the best starting pitcher on the roster. The highest potential, sure, but also the best. STARTER

Scott Olsen – Everyone’s got hopes and dreams, and many of us hope Olsen could be an effective starter with this team. Not since he’s gotten back from the DL. His return has gone a little something like this: 7 GS, 32 IP, 45 H, 11 BB, 18 K, 8.72 ERA. He shouldn’t be starting on a major league team right now, and with the minors season ending, he should probably be packed up for the spring. BENCH

Yunesky Maya – The 28 year old Maya pitched well in Syracuse on Wednesday, for his second straight very strong AAA start. It would make sense for him to take Olsen’s place on Tuesday. If he was on the Nats already and pitched Wednesday night, it would work out that he’d pitch on Tuesday, so just slide him in right there. He’s a vet, he’s pitched plenty in Cuba and international competition, now’s the time to introduce him to the majors. STARTER

Tom Milone – If you don’t know who Tom Milone is, you’re not paying attention to Harrisburg baseball. Milone’s in his third season in pro ball, and at each level he’s dominating without a dominating fastball. In his last 10 starts, he’s has given up 3 runs twice, the other 8 times he’s given up 2 or less. In 5 of his last 6 starts, he’s struck out at least 7.  He’s spent all season in AA where he’s pitched 151 innings and struck out 146 while walking only 22, earning a 2.92 ERA. Still, without really filthy stuff and with pinpoint control, the Nats will probably make this youngster earn it. I doubt he goes to the rotation until he shows once again, this time in AAA, that his sub-90 mph fastball put in the right place gets Ks. Watch for him some time next year. MINORS

Ross DetwilerDetwiler is coming back from the DL, again, and just like last year, he has a chance to impress in September. He still has as much potential as any healthy starter on the roster other than JZim and could benefit from some major league starts. He had a strong start for Syracuse on Thursday, so he’d be scheduled to start around Wednesday of next week. What might make sense is to give Marquis one more start on Sunday, and then have Detwiler slip into his spot the following Saturday. STARTER

Garrett Mock – He’s starting for Syracuse tonight, but Mock hasn’t looked great in the minors during his rehab. Maybe after the AAA season he gets called up to sit in the bullpen, but I have a feeling he’ll have to wait and prove himself in the spring. MINORS

Matt Chico – Here’s an interesting case. There is some nostalgia to have Matt Chico back on the team, he was so promising back in 2008. He’s looked good in the minors this year, between 5 starts in AA and 21 in AAA, he’s pitched 141 2/3 innings, struck out 86, walked 41 and compiled a 3.62 ERA. His last start was Saturday, so if the Nats wanted to, they could bring him up to fill in for Marquis this weekend, although I doubt they’ll do that. I would, though. SPOT STARTER

Chien-Ming WangWang is still not ready, unfortunately. At this point we can hope for a great spring, I guess. REHAB

Here’s my rotation for the next week:

  • 9/3 – Livo
  • 9/4 – Lannan
  • 9/5 – Chico
  • 9/6 – JZim
  • 9/7 – Maya

And here’s my rotation for the remainder of the season:

  • Livo
  • Lannan
  • Detwiler
  • JZim
  • Maya

It won’t work out exactly like this, but if I was the Nats management, this is what I’d plan on doing.

By Charlie