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10/3/07 Can You Name All 13 Washington Nationals 2007 Starters? (Without Googling?)

     ...I'll even give you the one you'll never get...

     It's Levale Speigner(1).

     If you watched the Philly broadcast of Washington's last game this past Sunday, you may have heard this topic discussed in reference to the magnificent job that Nationals Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire has done with the piecemeal staff of prospects, minor league free agents and journeymen-pitchers-looking-for open-rotation-spots that got DC through '07.

     Levale Speigner, a Rule 5 pick from the Twins (who the Nationals actually lost on waivers back to Minnesota and then reacquired) started 6 for the Nationals going (1-3) with an 11.79 ERA in 23.2 innings, and filling in admirably when the Nationals suffered injuries to the starting staff.

      Opening Day starter John Patterson(2) for instance. Patterson started only 7 games in 2007, as the man who was supposed to be the Nationals ace, went (1-5) in those seven starts with 7.47 ERA on the mound before going on the DL on May 5th after giving up 7 hits and 5 runs in 2.0 innings of work in Chicago, and never returning, turning up only in news reports, traveling the country looking for a cure for what ailed his troubled right arm.

     Another pitcher whose right arm woes ended his season early was Jason Simontacchi(3), who returned from a vagrant pitching career to the Major Leagues and impressed everyone in DC going (6-7) in 13 starts with a 6.37 ERA, before finishing the season on the DL with "right elbow tendinitis" which took him out on July 16th.

      ...And who can forget Jerome Williams(4), the former Giants prospect, who went (0-5) in 6 starts before parting ways with the Nationals organization. Pitchers Billy Traber(5) and Mike Bacsik(6) were pressed into starting roles at times with one of them earning a slight bit of infamy along the way. (Guess which one?) Traber was (0-2) in two starts with a 7.04 ERA, while Bacsik fared much better going (5-8) with a 5.11 ERA in 20 starts for DC, and giving up what is possibly the most controversial home run in the history of baseball.

     Micah Bowie(7), another lefty like Bacsik and Traber, was (4-1) in 8 starts with a 4.70 ERA, while their fellow veteran hurler Tim Redding (8) made 15 starts during which he posted a (3-6) record with a 3.64 ERA in 84.0 innings, and most likely earned himself of spot in next year's rotation in the process.

     Barring any unforseen signings, Redding will most likely be joined in the starting rotation by returning hurlers, Matt Chico(9), Jason Bergmann(10) and Shawn Hill(11), who will need to recover from two separate off season surgeries first, but more than earned a spot if and when he's again healthy, going (4-5) in 16 starts with a 3.42 ERA, which was the lowest ERA amongst DC's starters.

     Matt Chico made the most starts for the Nationals in 2007, going (7-9) in 31 starts with a 4.63 ERA in his rookie campaign after never having pitched above Double-AA before this season, while Jason Bergmann continued to show flashes of brilliance in 21 starts, putting up a (6-6) record with a 4.45 ERA in 115.1 innings pitched.

     Which leaves us with the rookies...John Lannan(12) and Joel Hanrahan(13), who both came up in the end of July and made big impressions in the time each was given with the big club. Lannan was tossed from his first start for some beanings, and went on to a (2-2) in 6 starts with a 4.15 ERA in 34.2 innings, while Hanrahan hung around and ended the season with DC, appearing in 12 games, 11 as a starter, in which the right-hander went (5-3) with a 6.00 ERA in his first time around in the Majors.

     You'll forgive Randy St. Claire, if even he doesn't remember them all...