Apr 23, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
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.
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