The M's finally won again last night, beating the also quite awful A's 10-8. The A's, who threw in the towel at the trade deadline, are 24-40 in the second half, just one win better than us. We're now a half game back (or up, depending in your perspective). Should the M's win out and we split with the Phils (or should the M's split and the Phils sweep), we get that first pick.
Incidentally, thinking about starting pitching for the future (yes, that was non-sequitor dressed up as a segue), after last night's conflagration by Balester (too bad really--he's going to have that 5.51 ERA on the back of his baseball card for life), here are the season ERAs of all the Nationals pitchers who started at least one game this year, from best to worst:
- John Lannan: 3.86
- Garrett Mock: 4.02
- Odalis Perez: 4.27
- Tyler Clippard: 4.35
- Tim Redding: 4.95
- Jason Bergmann: 5.09
- Collin Balester: 5.51
- Shawn Hill: 5.83
- Shairon Martis: 5.89
- Matt Chico: 6.19
- Mike O'Connor: 13.00
I suspect a lot of fans would be surprised to learn that Bergmann was better than Balester or Martis and barely edged out by Redding. I suspect few if any would have had Mock so high up there. And did Matt Chico really pitch for us this year? And I'm also not sure fans realize how bad our starting pitching really was this year.
Finally, I was glad to see this in the Post this morning: "The team will prefer to have Martis back in the minor leagues next year, especially because fellow youngsters Collin Balester and Jordan Zimmermann figure to pitch in the majors while still developing. Said Manager Manny Acta: 'We are going to be cautious of having so many of those guys at one point.'"
As you know, I don't think Martis is ready. But this reflects an awareness that to develop young pitchers, you need a veteran innings-eater or two in the mix to make sure you don't burn the 'pen and have to force a young guy to go longer than you'd otherwise want to, thereby risking injury or their confidence. I'm probably reading too much into it, but if this is what they're thinking, that's good.
This statement also implies that we'd be looking to add another veteran arm to replace Perez, because if we don't, it'll be Redding and four 'still developing young guys'--and that's assuming Redding is offered arb and resigns, which I'm not sure is a no-brainer.