Nationals manager Davey Johnson believes his ballclub’s success begins with pitching.
But the Nationals’ starters this year have been sporadic, with little success coming outside the top three. Dan Haren and Ross Detwiler opened the year as the back end of the rotation. Haren is 5-11 with a 5.49 ERA, and Detwiler is 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA.
Both have battled injuries, with Detwiler still out with a lingering back problem.
Last weekend, though, Haren, Ross Ohlendorf and rookie Taylor Jordan all posted solid starts that led to Nationals wins over the Mets. Ohlendorf allowed one run in seven innings Friday, Haren gave up one run in seven innings Saturday, and Jordan allowed one run in six innings Sunday.
“Everything rolls off of pitching,” Johnson said. “When you’re getting good pitching, your offense is always more active. When you’re giving up runs early, it kind of puts a stifle on it. Everyone tries to be too fine. I think the pitching’s coming around and the hitting’s coming with it.”
Before Tuesday’s game against the Tigers, the Nationals were 35-27 in games started by Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez, with Strasburg winning only seven of those games despite his team-best 2.85 ERA.
To compare, the Nationals are 17-27 in games when Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmermann are not starting.
“Dan, he’s struggled so far this season, but I think he’s starting to find his feel and get to where we thought he would be before the season started,” center fielder Denard Span said. “[Ohlendorf], he’s another veteran guy that started off in Triple-A, but he’s been in this league for some years and knows how to pitch. [Jordan], you have to tip your cap to him. He pitched six strong innings for us [on Sunday], and he’s given us chances to win. That’s all you can ask for.”