Jul 28, 2011, 4:51 AM EDT
They had been the one constant during a season that had featured plenty of ups and downs in other areas. If nothing else, the Nationals knew they could count on whichever starting pitcher they sent to the mound to churn out a quality performance and give his teammates a chance to win.
Perhaps it was inevitable this rotation would hit a bump in the road at some point. It’s not like we’re talking about the 1971 Orioles staff or the current Phillies unit. This is a rotation that gets by on guile and guts more than physical prowess, and that can only take you so far.
On Wednesday night, Livan Hernandez became the latest culprit, knocked out by the Marlins before recording an out in the fifth inning and putting his Nationals teammates in a deep hole. Despite their best effort to catapult themselves out of it with a stirring, ninth-inning rally, they still came up short in a 7-5 loss that ended on Laynce Nix’s drive to the right-field warning track.
Thus the Nationals lost their fourth straight game, all of them featuring less-than-stellar performances from their starting pitchers. During that stretch of starts by Tom Gorzelanny, Jason Marquis, Jordan Zimmermann and Hernandez, the unit has combined to post an 8.24
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