Right-hander Yunesky Maya has had experience with the Nationals in the past, and was sent to Triple-A Syracuse to start the season to build on his command and control on the mound.
Maya is 9-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 22 starts and has really turned it on since July 22, winning three straight games.
In the last three starts, Maya has shown he can deliver on a consistent basis, allowing just three earned runs in the past 21 2/3 innings. In six of his last 10 starts, the Cuban right-hander has surrendered two earned runs or less.
"Maya has thrown the ball extremely well," Syracuse manager Tony Beasley said. "I don't know if he can pitch any better than he has the last three outings. He has been throwing lights out. If there is a need up top, I feel like he is going to go up and compete and throw strikes.
"He changes speeds and he locates the ball. He works really, really fast. Hitters don't get a chance to get dug in the batter's box and have a tough time getting comfortable."
Beasley said the key for Maya is that the hitters are having trouble discerning the difference between his various pitches, critical for any successful big league pitcher.
"He is repeating his delivery," Beasley said. "Everything is coming out of the same slot and it looks the same out of his hand and it is different once the hitter commits. Maya has done a really good job for us."
Left-handers John Lannan and Zach Duke could also start right now for the Nationals, if necessary. Duke has 11 wins and Lannan has two victories with the Nationals, as he was called up twice since July 21.
Beasley said Duke and Lannan have been consistent as well and can pitch at the top level as they have in the past.
"I feel like we have some guys that if it came down to it up top they could fit right into the rotation," Beasley said. "They could get us through a game or two or whatever they needed up there."