Right-hander Taylor Jordan continues to be consistent on the mound, and although his record doesn't show it, he has made progress fine-tuning a pair of his best pitches.
Jordan is 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts for the Nationals. He was 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 15 minor league games.
Coming off Tommy John surgery, Jordan will only have a handful of starts remaining before he will need to be shut down if general manager Mike Rizzo follows the same restriction of 160 innings he placed on Stephen Strasburg last season under a similar post-surgery scenario.
Jordan reached 90 1/3 innings in the minors this season. In five starts in the majors, he has finished 29 1/3 frames. So, the 119 2/3 innings leaves him around 40 innings short of the limit placed on Strasburg in 2012.
That means Jordan could conceivably make five or six more starts with the Nationals before he would have to be shut down.
Manager Davey Johnson said he will speak to Rizzo about when Jordan will be shut down and if the righty can extend it a game or two.
"Might have to edge him up a bit, start working on Riz (about how many innings Jordan has left)," Johnson said. "We haven't had discussions on that yet."
But the shutdown is inevitable. And the bigger question might be the role Jordan could have on this team in 2014. Johnson said Jordan is definitely in the conversation for next year's roster.
"He is making a great case," Johnson said. "His command is getting better. His slider, which is his third pitch, is getting a lot better, more consistent. He stepped forth yesterday. My bullpen was in shambles. He should have given up only one run. Rendon makes that play, the inning is over."
Jordan said postgame Tuesday that he has started to see good results with his slider, which he said is "starting to become a good pitch now."
Johnson also says Jordan will have staying power because he is learning the hitters and their tendencies.
"Any time you can throw that hard sinker, and as he gets to know the hitters better, he will locate them better," Johnson said. "More of them will be outs, and less of them will be hit hard. He has made great strides."
With the uncertainty of Ross Detwiler's health and the difficult season endured by Dan Haren, Jordan is demonstrating the type of strides that make him the Nationals' proper choice for one of the five starting pitching spots in 2014.