May 31, 2011, 10:21 PM EDT
On a depth chart of pitchers the Nationals had reason to be worried about entering the season, Sean Burnett probably ranked dead-last. The left-hander was coming off a brilliant 2010, followed by a perfect spring training (zero earned runs allowed in 10 appearances).
Two months into the season, Burnett's struggles may not rank as the No. 1 concern on a Nationals roster full of concerns. But the reliever has been far from the sure thing that made him so valuable one year ago.
After losing Monday's game to the Phillies, Burnett is sporting a 5.59 ERA. He's allowing nearly one hit per inning pitched, his highest rate in three years. He's striking out only 4.7 batters per nine innings, nearly 50 percent fewer than he did in 2010. And right-handed batters are hitting .317 against him, a complete reversal of his fortunes last year.
All of this leaves Burnett baffled.
"I don't have the answer right now," he said after Monday's loss. "The thing is, I have good outings and I have bad outings, and there's just no consistency right now. You can't have that. You're letting good starts slip away, and it's unfortunate and unacceptable. I hold myself to a higher standard than that, and I'm the first one to take blame onRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Depleted Nationals lineup shut out by Marlins
- Nationals can't fight back against Marlins, lose 3-0
- Werth out but says ankle sprain isn't serious
- Strasburg takes mound for big start vs. Marlins
- Zimmermann returns to form in dominant start
- Around the NL East: Which team will make a big splash via trade?
- After meltdown, Nationals must bounce back
- Werth hopes to play Tuesday after spraining ankle
- Nationals surrender four runs in 9th, fall 7-6 to Marlins
- Span proving skeptics wrong with summer surge