The Washington Nationals will be itching to redeem themselves as they possess one of the better pitching staffs in MLB Betting Odds. Let's take a look at their starting five.
Clear Ace of the Staff
Although Max Scherzer (14-12, 2.79) had a somewhat disappointing season last year, he's still regarded as one of the best pitchers in baseball and still managed to pitch below a 3.00 ERA. I actually want to clump Stephen Strasburg in with Scherzer as the Nats two “big starters”, but we've gotten to the point where Strasburg is considered as one of those pitchers with amazing ability, but hasn't lived up to expectations on the baseball diamond due to injuries and inconsistency.
Scherzer on the other hand is a proven MLB betting odds commodity. He was a leader with the Detroit Tigers, rejected a contract, and it payed off. Look for a big season out of Scherzer.
This is a pitcher that struck out 276 batters in 228 2/3 innings and fared better on the road last season with a 2.20 ERA. Maybe pressure in front of the fans at home got to him a bit at times, but this is a clear number 1 starter.
As I mentioned about Stephen Strasburg (11-7, 3.46), the potential has always been there, but I'm starting to believe that we're not going to see any Cy Young Awards in his future as he's simply an inconsistent pitcher in our MLB picks.
Strasburg can pitch lights out in one start and then give up 5 runs in the first inning in his next start. With all of that said, he still strikes out more than a batter per inning and has held opposing hitters to a .236 batting average. Just his presence on the mound is a threat to opposing teams, who think that he's capable of a monster performance. He's a legitimate #2 pitcher with #1 stuff.
When Gio Gonzalez (11-8, 3.79) is considered the number 3 man in the rotation, you know that Washington is rather secure and deep where pitching is concerned.
Gonzalez didn't have an overwhelming season last year, but a lot of pitchers would take it. I think it's due to the fact that he's used to being “higher up on the food chain”.
Gonzalez is a very important part of this staff as Stephen Strasburg is a threat to get injured at any time. Gonzalez, who is only 30 years old, has proven in the past with a career record of 91-66 with a 3.62 ERA that he's more than capable of doing the job. He will be going up against some very tough opposing pitchers in the National League and this is a big season for the native-Floridian.
Roark and Ross
We really don't know what we're going to get from starters Tanner Roark and Joe Ross, but I expect much improvement from Ross (5-5, 3.64), who was very respectable, and is very young at 22 years of age. Manager, Dusty Baker, should feel very secure with Ross at the tail end of his pitching staff and place Roark solely back into the starter's role where he excelled. Roark didn't have a good year last season, but that's expected when a pitcher is taken out of his usual role as a full-time starter.
Overall, Washington is a team to look out for and the five names mentioned above are a major reason why they'll be contenders.