After completing a four-game sweep of the Phillies tonight in Philadelphia, the Nationals are in historic territory. And it's their pitching that's getting them there.
Brad Peacock threw 5 2/3 shutout innings, getting his second straight win as the Nationals took a shutout into the ninth inning and eventually beat the Phillies 6-1 to complete the four-game sweep. It gave Washington a series win over Philadelphia for the first time since 2006, and marked the first time in franchise history the team has swept two four-game series on the road in the same season, following the Nationals' four-game sweep of the Mets earlier this month.
The Nationals have now won 10 of 12, and their starting pitchers have six wins in those games. Peacock has two, fellow rookie Tommy Milone has one and so do Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler and John Lannan.
It's dangerous to put anywhere near the stock in September results you're going to hear from the Nationals from now until next spring. And yet, if either Milone or Peacock is capable of delivering solid results for a whole season, the Nationals are looking at having quite the rotation in 2012, pairing one of those starters with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan and Wang, Detwiler or a free agent. If the Nationals sign a pitcher, they've probably got enough depth to trade a starter for a leadoff hitter. Those are questions for another time, but the team's pitching depth heading into 2012 looks better than at any point since the team came to Washington.
And even though the Nationals were facing a Phillies team that was going through the motions, they are now 76-79. If they can win five of their last six games against the Braves and Marlins, they would finish over .500 for the first time since the Expos did it in 2003. Again, there's plenty of reason to worry about inflation of September results, but with what the team's starters have done this month, some of the optimism might be worthwhile.