This may come as a big shock to some people, but there's no such thing as an unhittable pitcher.
Seriously. I wouldn't kid about something like that.
As good as Stephen Strasburg has been, he's allowed a few hits along the way. He's even allowed a few home runs. And if you recall, he allowed some hits - and runs - in the minor leagues.
But this isn't about Strasburg; this is about any pitcher, anywhere.
Look at Jordan Zimmermann - Barely a year removed from Tommy John surgery, and he's yet to allow an earned run in three rehab outings over 9 innings in Class A ball. He has also yet to walk a hitter.
But already some people are saying, "Well, sure, he hasn't allowed an earned run, but he has allowed some hits - to class A hitters! That can't be good..."
I refer you back to the first line of this entry.
Jordan Zimmermann, who broke in with a bang last year, averaging about a strikeout per inning, is on track to return to the Nats' rotation sometime in August. He will, hopefully, pick up some slack in September when it's time to shut Strasburg down for the year.
Next year though, the thought of SS and JZ back-to-back in the rotation should create some visions of sugarplums. There are multiple candidates for the other three spots - I won't bother to list each name - but perhaps you can see why most pro scouts believe this team will be pretty good in the seasons to come.
I'm amused by the fans who continue to label the Nats' pitching as "terrible" or "awful," when in fact, while not world class, it's far from those adjectives.
The National League, as a whole, hit the All-Star Break with an ERA of 4.10. The Nationals' team ERA at the break was 4.26, just behind the Reds, who lead the Central Division, and just ahead of the Astros, who bring up the rear of the Central. They've allowed the sixth most earned runs with 371, again, just behind the Reds; but they've allowed the second most unearned runs with 47; the Cubs are the runaway leaders in that department with 58. Defense, anyone?
With merely adequate defensive play this season, the Nationals would be at least a few games closer to break even than they are.
Yes, there have been team-wide offensive slumps at times this year, but their inability to pick up the ball has cost them dearly.
The major offender has been shortstop Ian Desmond, but they're convinced he'll improve in time, not unlike another young shortstop whose early career error totals were high: Garry Templeton. Templeton, who made 24 errors in only 53 games his rookie year, went on to play 16 seasons, with three All-Star appearances and two Silver Slugger awards. He never won a Gold Glove, but he played almost 2,000 games at the position. I'm sure the Nats would embrace anything similar.
So I'm not real worried about starting pitching - It's the gloves behind the starters that need some consistency.