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How secure is Jordan’s rotation spot?

Apr 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

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The Nationals intended all along for both Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan to retain their spots in the starting rotation until Doug Fister was ready to return from a strained lat muscle, likely in early-May. At that point, the club would decide which young right-hander deserved to remain in the rotation and which one would be sent to Class AAA Syracuse.

But with Fister still two weeks away from making his 2014 debut, the Nationals suddenly have questions about Jordan’s ability to hold down the fort even for that brief remaining stretch.

Tuesday night saw Jordan once again put himself and his team in an early hole, torched for four first-inning runs by the Angels en route to a 7-2 loss. It was the third straight time he surrendered at least three runs in the first inning, and it left him 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts overall.

Afterward, manager Matt Williams was asked whether he would have to consider making a switch now, potentially with Ross Detwiler moved from the bullpen back into a starting role. His answer surprisingly left the door open.

“We don’t know,” Williams said. “We’ve got to see where Doug’s at, certainly. That’s important for us. We won’t know that for some time. Would we ever consider it? Of course we would consider it, but not because of tonight. … But to make that drastic change right now, I don’t think we would do (that).”

The Nationals do have some flexibility moving forward because of a pair of upcoming off-days. They’ll need a No. 5 starter Sunday against the Padres, but then they can bypass the spot until May 6 against the Dodgers. Fister is currently on a five-day schedule that would line him up to return on May 7, so it’s possible the Nationals would still need a fifth starter the previous day.

Whatever the case, Williams and his staff have some decisions to make when it comes to the back end of their rotation.

  1. texnat1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    How is Ohlendorf doing? I’ve seen enough of TJordan for now, but I’m not sure its a great idea to try to shuttle Detweiler to that spot, especially if it is only for a start or two.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      I agree.

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        I also agree.

    • scnatsfan - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      I thought he was on the 60 day DL

  2. stoatva - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Three straight starts with consistent results… demolished in the first inning, mostly fairly decent thereafter. Needs work at AAA. Starting now.

  3. sunshinebobby - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    He’s gone, SYR-bound. So long, good luck and goodbye.

    There have to be better options. Every time this guy starts, we’re out of the game by the second inning. League has caught up with him, and passed him. He’s fodder.

    Matty Marine’s non-endorsement last night sealed his fate. Sept. 1 call-up, if all goes well.

    • Section 222 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      Do you mean if all goes well for him in SYR or if all goes well with the health of the rest of the Nats’ rotatoin?

      Both would be my answer.

  4. jd - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Has anyone else noticed that every single one of Atlanta’s starters is pitching great? I’m talking about Harang and Hale and Wood and Santana and Tehran. This is a team that is down 4 pitchers (Minor, Medlen, Beechy and Floyd). Last year Maholm pitched better than he had in years. You have to give props to their pitching coach, you just have to.

    Which brings me to my main point. Do you feel that any of the pitchers Mc.Catty got has outperformed their expected stats? Lets look back: Jackson, Haren,Detwiler. How about Strasburg, Jordan? Do we feel that Gio and JZim are getting better and better? are they consistent?

    After a while when you look at the complete body of work I think Cat who I’m sure is a wonderful human being is getting a pass and I’m not sure it’s deserved.

    • pchuck69 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      I’ve always thought McCatty was a terrible pitching coach. I’ve never got the impression that he helps raise the level of play of any of his pitchers. Pitchers under McCatty are exactly what they are or less. If Harang was in this rotation, his ERA would be about 7+. Harang on this staff would be the real Harang.

    • sunshinebobby - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      Great points, JD. ‘Cat gets kind of a pass from all of us here, compared to the grief Eck used to get (deservedly, mostly). The lack of progression of Stras is the most glaring, but there are the other examples you cite. If Dan Haren wins double-digit games for the Dodgers this year, that’s quite damning by itself.

    • bowdenball - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Does anyone remember April 23, 2013? Justin Upton was on his way to a 50 HR MVP season and we were all convinced that the only decent Nats starter was Ross Detwiler and his 1.38 ERA.

      Give it time, folks. Harang will turn back into Harang. Strasburg, Gio and Zimmermann will probably put up numbers similar to the ones they’ve put up over the last two seasons.

      And enough about Atlanta being “down four pitchers.” Beachy wasn’t really in the rotation at all last year either. Gavin Floyd’s 5.18 ERA and 1.60 WHIP last year were replacement level. And Medlen’s been replaced by an equally effective pitcher in free agent signing Ervin Santana. Basically they’ve lost their #3 starter in Mike Minor and that’s it.

      • jd - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Bowdenball,

        You are spinning. The 4 I mentioned were all ticketed for their rotation this year. The fact that they were able to mix and match and maintain good levels is a credit to their coaching, that’s all I am saying. Yes Harang will likely regress but my over all point I think is still valid.

        My points about the National pitchers isn’t based on a slow start this year, I don’t react to small sample sizes. I think my overall it’s alarming that pitchers aren’t getting consistently better and veterans with reasonable track records stay in one place or regress.

      • jd - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        Also,

        Your point that everyone eventually regresses to their expected levels ignores my point about the influence coaching has on performance. If you think that coaching is basically irrelevent then we just have a difference of opinion.

      • bowdenball - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM

        I’m not spinning. In fact (and I mean no disrespect here) it kinda seems like you’re spinning when you say they’re down four starters when one of those guys hasn’t pitched in two years, the other is awful, and you ignore the Santana acquisition.

        Yes those four were all ticketed for the rotation this year, but they were lucky to lose Floyd for clearly better options in their system and they were forced to blow a first round draft pick to sign Santana. That’s not a credit to anything but good fortune and an obvious, easy decision to sacrifice a future pick to address a present need.

        You’re also wrong about our pitcher development. We’ve had plenty of success stories- Gio’s numbers have improved dramatically since arriving in DC for Oakland. Zimmermann was hardly ticketed for greatness until the Nats’ developmental system and eventually the major league coaching staff got their hands on him. Two years ago Tanner Roark didn’t even appear on Nats prospect lists. Ross Ohlendorf was a washed up vet before the Nats made him one of the pleasant surprises in 2013. There have been success stories, big and small, along with failures and disappointments just like every other organization. Taylor Jordan has been terrible this year, but that’s the only story here. Let’s not make it bigger than it is.

  5. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    One word answer to the question posted in the title of this post:

    Not.

    • scnatsfan - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      +1

  6. jd - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    From the previous post,

    Mrs. B.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that team started ‘cipping away’. It’s more that their pitcher tried hard to get us back in the game by walking hitters and hitting them. We had a run in and the bases loaded with no outs and we scored 1 more run. I thought right then that we aren’t winning this game.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Valid point.

      When I saw the pitch to Pujols for 499, I knew at that point we wouldn’t win. And at 500, I was too livid to congratulate Pujols becuz that pitch was one of the worst I have ever seen.

  7. natsfan24 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Taylor Jordan pitched well last year. Does anyone think that his production is affected by Wilson Ramos’s absence? I think Ramos’s injury also explains why ALL of our pitchers are giving up 3 to 4 runs early in games.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      I think he’s a lot more affected by two other problems: his velocity is down and his pitches are up. That’s not a good combination.

  8. Sonny G 10 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Taylor needs some more seasoning in AAA. I’m not sure who I would want to replace him until Fister is ready.

    • Section 222 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      Give Det a few starts. He can’t be any worse. And it’s not like MW is taking advantage of him in the bullpen, like when there’s a tough left handed pinch hitter coming up with the bases loaded in the 8th inning in a 1-1 ballgame.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        Sure.. Det can get thru the rotation 1 time.. and then after that, its over. His ERA from 4 -6 inning was ridiculously high… but I doubt we give up 3 in the first 3 runs. Det’s issue was the overusage of the FB as we all remember…

      • Section 222 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Like I said, he can’t be any worse. Just have a quick hook, if necessary. MW can bring in Clip in the 6th…

      • npb99 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        +1

      • 6ID20 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        Det isn’t going to start again any time soon. He’s nowhere near being stretched out. Hasn’t gone more than 2 innings all season, including ST. They can’t stretch him out from the bullpen, and they can’t send him down to stretch him out because he’s out of options.

        Treinin would be a better bet if they decide to replace Jordan.

      • Section 222 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

        Good point on stretching out. But of course, we don’t know what he’s been doing in between outings. Stammen has done spot starts in the past. Not sure you need to stretch someone out to go four or five innings. But others may have a better sense.

  9. scnatsfan - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    The problem is if you recall someone from SYR he has to be on the 40 man which none of the starters are (Treinen I believe has been used as a reliever). Second is if any of them realistically give you more of a chance then Jordan. Stammen should be just left alone and let him do his job, he does it very well. As a result, due to my stellar observations (cough), its Detwiler or Jordan… and I think Jordan will continue to get the ball as using Det leaves us with one lefty in the pen. Not that that matters as MW doesn’t seem to use the matchups with our lefties, and not that it matters since we are usually behind and giving up additional runs won’t kill us if we are already dead by the third inning.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Treinan is a starter in Syracuse; he was just used as a reliever in DC. He’s also on the 40 man roster. That said, I’d prefer Detwiler over Treinan, depending on matchups.

    • 6ID20 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Treinin is starting now in SYR.

      • scnatsfan - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Thanks you two. Didn’t know if he had been stretched out after his return.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    How secure is Jordan’s spot? – Its not.

  11. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Jordan did NOT pitch well last year. He was a pleasant surprise in some respects but mostly he got hammered. In ST it looked like he was major league-ready, maybe ROY material (not sure he’s eligible). Now he’s getting hammered again. So far as I can tell his velocity is down since ST and his FB/sinker (I’m not sure if he’s trying to throw a four-seamer) has no bite. I agree, he needs at least a full season at Syracuse, both to learn and to be properly evaluated. If due to injury the Nats need another starter they’ll try Treinen first, Detwiler second, and probably Ohlendorf third before they’ll expose Jordan again.

    The silver lining in the Fister cloud was the prospect of Jordan and Roark competing for the 5th spot. Roark is now claiming the position by default by merely pitching inconsistently. So far his grade is “incomplete.” If he can string together three loosely-defined “quality” starts he may be a viable option. If not Rizzo/Williams will need to look for consistency elsewhere.

  12. lplipty - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Its time to put Werth back in the leadoff spot, who cares where Werth prefers to bat

  13. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Jordan was an improvement last year, by comparison to Nate Karns, and to Haren. But he didn’t take the world by storm like Roark did. I’m not surprised he hasn’t been that great this year so far. He’s still developing.

  14. lplipty - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Werth
    Harper
    Rendon
    LaRoche
    Desmond
    Espy
    Lobaton
    Span Mr aka Slappy, who at this point cant even slap a turtle

  15. philipd763 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Jordan is toast. He’s in way over his head. Send him to Syracuse.

  16. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Jordan’s next start is in Houston (hopefully that helps him out), They can then skip him in the rotation because of Off days and then Fister is up. Taylor will go down. I really think something is off with him physically, his velocity is way down, I certainly hope it is just a command issue (and not a health issue). I hope and pray that Fister comes back on 5/7 that pushes Tanner down to the 5 spot. we can start shuffling our pitching rotation and get the matchups we need.

    Tanner did really well the other night, sorry it was a wasted effort.

    I think the hitting is REALLY missing Zim and Ramos more than we even realize. I wish MW would set a lineup for awhile and just let them settle in. Anthony should NOT have been batting clean up. that probably should have been Werth last night. Werth in Lead off would be great, but he hates that spot.

    I would go with:
    Span (only b/c Werth won’t)
    Rendon
    Harper
    Werth
    Roche
    Ian
    Espi
    Catcher
    Pitcher

    I do NOT like Harper after Span. need to break up the Lefty’s

    • letswin3 - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      I don’t remember Werth saying that he hated leadoff … just that he prefers 3rd or 4th(can’t remember which of those two he was quoted as liking). I still think he is the single best option for leading off, although that might lead to reduced RBI’s for him, it would lead to MORE team RBI’s. And, as I’ve said before, he’s a team player who would hit 9th if he felt that’s what the team needed.

  17. scnatsfan - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I’m am really hoping today we bunch our 4 hits together and get some runs

  18. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Jordan’s spot comes up against the Padres Sunday, and there isn’t any way to skip him (except, they could send him down, bring up Treinen, or insert Detwiler; if Detwiler pitches tonight, that possibility is ruled out). There are off days on the 28th and the 1st, and Gonzalez could be bumped up on the fourth and Z’mann and Strasburg pushed back w/ Fister arriving on the seventh. That seems like a lot of monkeying around with the rotation for a short-term game but if this slump (both Jordan’s and the team’s) continues it is possible the Brain Trust will think it is necessary. I think that is the most that can be inferred from Wms.’s comments.

    • pdowdy83 - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Is Treinen available to come back that quickly? He has to spend 10 days in the minors and was just sent back down Friday I believe. I think he is unavailable until after Jordan’s next start. Then he would only get 1 more start before Fister is ready hopefully. I like Treinen but I don’t think they will call him back up just to make one start and then send him right back down.

  19. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    “short term gain”

  20. MicheleS - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    FIne then Taylor’s start is against the Padres, not much difference betw them and the Stros. Doesn’t matter, he gets 1 more start then heads to AAA

  21. tcostant - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Rather than moving Detwiler to start for a few weeks, I would just start using Det like a RP who can help the team. How about seeing Det vs. a single LH when needed? How about a game that is close. Let stop this usage nosense and actually use Det like a regualr RP.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      +1

      • langleyclub - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Realize that we are only 21 games into the season, but still trying to understand the decision to move Detwiler to the pen. Agree 1000% that the Nats have not used Detwiler in key situations to get LH handed bats out. Right now, he is simply a long reliever used to eat innings. Given that role, why not leave Detwiler in the rotation where he had a far better track record of success in MLB than Jordan?

        So much of this team’s rationale for its moves (e.g., continuing to use Clippard in 8th inning hold situations) is allegedly based on “track record”; yet, the team has wasted Detwiler in mop up roles while the team has an 0-4 record in Taylor Jordan starts. Puzzling.

  22. dcsportsfan2277 - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Is there anyone in AA or AAA that is pitching lights out and can give a couple of 5 inning starts? TJ is just plain terrible so far and needs to be in AAA getting seasoned. Roark is clearly #5 now unless Rizzo makes some kind of trade. Is Christian Garcia a possibility?

    Det needs to be in the pen although he has not pitched much. He is extremely valuable there and has been great thus far! He and Stammen make a good pair of long relievers.

    • Melissa - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Not sure about his stuff, but Taylor Hill has been getting the results these past two years. He’s in AAA now but isn’t on the 40-man.

      AJ Cole still needs time in the minors, although he was really good in limited appearances at spring training. He’s had two good starts and one mediocre one so far for the Senators. He’s still building up his stamina in the early goings and hasn’t gone more than five innings in any start. Meanwhile, the other AA starters have been terrible.

  23. secretwasianman - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Don’t let the door hit ya.

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