Mar 1, 2010, 12:44 AM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen should make the Opening Day rotation … if he's healthy.
VIERA, Fla. — For all the progress they made this winter in bolstering their lineup, overhauling their bullpen and improving their defense, the Nationals know it won't mean a thing if they don't get better starting pitching in 2010 than they got in 2009.
A unit that boasted only one guy with more than five wins (John Lannan) and one guy with more than 106 innings pitched (Lannan, again) needs to perform better if this club is going to approach respectability after two straight 100-loss seasons.
There's good reason to believe things will be better this time around. Lannan has another year of experience. The reliable Jason Marquis has been added to the mix. Scott Olsen appears to be healthy again, or close to it. Chien-Ming Wang and Stephen Strasburg should join the club sometime during the season's first half.
If all goes as the Nationals hope, this could have the makings of a legitimate rotation by midseason. But as we sit here today, five weeks until Roy Halladay and the Phillies arrive at Nationals Park, this remains the Nats' biggest question mark. Can Lannan take the next step? Will Marquis be a steadying influence on the young arms? Will Wang's shoulder hold up and allow him to recapture his form fromRead more »
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