After three days of rest, can Nats bullpen hit the reset button?

What's the most important thing to happen to the Nationals over the last three days? Is it their offensive explosion last night against the Mariners? Big-time starts from Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross? Some encouraging results at the plate for Trea Turner?

Those are all nice developments, but perhaps the most important one has involved the part of the roster that basically has not been used during this mini stretch: the bullpen.

With Strasburg going 7 2/3 innings on Sunday in Atlanta, then a day off Monday and Ross' eight-inning start Tuesday night, Dusty Baker has needed to ask for only 2 1/3 innings from his beleaguered relief corps in the last three days.

Koda Glover pitched the final 1 1/3 innings of Sunday's 3-2 victory, throwing 15 pitches. Matt Grace finished off Tuesday's 10-1 rout of the Mariners with a 14-pitch scoreless inning.

Otherwise, everybody else has been able to take three days off. Which can only be viewed as a good thing right now.

A little break doesn't guarantee guys who have been struggling are suddenly going to figure it out. But it does allow Baker to hit something of a reset button with his bullpen and then go into tonight's game knowing everybody is available and everybody is fresh and everybody can be used in whatever situation the manager deems appropriate.

Romero-Throws-Red-Sidebar.jpgAs if the bullpen's struggles haven't been challenging enough, Baker also has been stuck playing with a short deck many nights along the way. Maybe he wanted to use Shawn Kelley but couldn't because the veteran had appeared the previous two days. Maybe he wanted to summon Enny Romero for a key at-bat against a lefty, but he had thrown 30 pitches the night before and thus needed to be avoided. And maybe he wanted to use Jacob Turner for multiple innings but couldn't because the club was still thinking about starting him in a couple of days.

Well, at least tonight, none of that will be an issue. Whatever Baker has decided is his best late-inning arrangement, he can use it for this game. And perhaps in the process he can begin to establish a routine that works for everyone.

At this point, it's pretty clear Glover is the closer, even if he hasn't formally been named the guy. It's also clear that Matt Albers has earned the right to pitch important innings, at least until his carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

Blake Treinen has had success a few times pitching in his old fireman role, and so Baker would like to use him when those situations arise. Romero has been erratic, but he's the best option to face lefties.

Turner is the intriguing part of this new equation. If Ross really is back and will remain the No. 5 starter for the foreseeable future, the Nationals now have another weapon to use out of the bullpen. The 25-year-old may not have a sterling track record, but he has pitched well just about every time he's been handed the ball this season, in a variety of roles.

Right now, Turner could well be used in the old Craig Stammen role: the bridge to get from a starter who gets knocked out earlier than hoped to the guys at the back end of the 'pen. His ability to throw multiple innings makes him a natural for that job. And make no mistake, that's an important job in any bullpen.

Look, the Nationals aren't magically going to fix their bullpen overnight. They're going to need to acquire multiple reliable arms sometime this summer, and they're still going to need a few members of the current group to figure things out.

But after a fortuitous three-day stretch, perhaps they can at least attempt a do-over starting tonight and get themselves headed on the right track at last.

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