Jason Marquis is back in the rotation pushing Craig Stammen into the bullpen. Stammen, meanwhile, has actually been pretty good the last 2 months. Going back to his June 6th start, he’s started 8, thrown 45 1/3 innings, had an ERA of 3.97 and struck out 30 while walking 16. Of course, he’s only finished the 6th inning 4 of those 8 starts, which shows that even when he’s going well, he can’t get around the lineup that 3rd time effectively. Marquis hasn’t shown he’s gonna do any better. He gave up 2 ER in only 4 IP on Sunday, which would give him an ERA of 4.50. That of course brought his season ERA down from 20.52 to 15.32. If he’s mildly effective it should be in the single digits in a week or so.

This of course leaves the problem of who to remove next from the rotation. Marquis knocked out Stammen, Strasburg is going to knock someone out on Tuesday. Not to mention Yunesky Maya and Jordan Zimmerman perhaps before the end of the month. Marquis would seem to be the logical choice to leave, of course, I’m not sure that’s gonna happen. The good news is someone can take Detwiler’s spot, the bad news is it’s because he’s back on the DL. He’s feeling soreness in his hip, and with the glut of sub-average starting pitchers going, the Nats didn’t need to push him.

Assuming Detwiler takes a few weeks off, the rotation should soon consist of Livan, Strasburg, Zimmerman, Maya, Olsen, Lannan and Marquis. Wait, that’s seven people. That’s not a rotation it’s a quorum. So who does end up leaving?

First, let’s take out the obvious ones. Livan’s the best pitcher they’ve had this year, at least in full time duty, and his ERA is sitting at 3.03 right now, so he stays. Strasburg is obviously pitching as long as he can. I believe the organization really wants Zimmermann to spend some time back in the major league rotation this year, so he’s in. Scott Olsen has had 1 bad and 1 good start since coming off the DL, but you’d think that he is in their plans to pitch, especially considering his 3.77 ERA after 8 starts to begin the season.

So that leaves one spot. Maybe it’s Marquis, the $15 M man? Or is it Maya, who they just signed and have stated should be in the majors before the end of August? Or perhaps its the once and future rock of the rotation, John Lannan? His last 2 starts have been pretty reminiscent of past years. I really don’t know how it’s gonna work out, but I’m gunning to see Maya. If they could unload Marquis, they’d probably do that at this point, but then again, he’s still owed $7.5 M in 2011, so I’m not sure they can. It’s an interesting problem to have, one that is often sorted out by injury.

And if you’re thinking it, I doubt they’d move to a 6 man rotation. It’s not the way to get your young starters used to being in a working major league rotation. Who knows, maybe they’d even move Livan to clear up room, but I think they want him around, and with what he’s shown the young guys, I’d want to keep him around, too.

In Other News

I’d like to point out that since Cristian Guzman’s last appearance with the Nats, the team has gone 6-5. Coincidence? Probably. But you never know.

By Charlie