Feb 6, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
Stephen Strasburg has never reached the eighth inning in 45 career starts.
As good as the Nationals' rotation was last season — it posted the NL's best ERA at 3.40 while yielding the league's lowest batting average at .240 — the unit was perhaps not as dominant as it could have been for one simple reason.
Davey Johnson rarely let his starters pitch deep into games.
Despite their fantastic numbers, Nationals starters actually threw only the 18th-most innings among all big-league rotations, averaging only 5.88 innings per outing. That's because Johnson let his starter take the mound for the eighth inning only eight times in 162 games.
And all of those starts were made by either Edwin Jackson (five times) or Gio Gonzalez (three times).
There was a clear method to Johnson's use of his staff. With soRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 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.
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