Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos. The guys that have been hitting all season hit again on Saturday. Murphy went 3 for 5 with a triple and scored to bump his average back up to .354. Ramos went 2 for 5 with an RBI and is hitting .342 with a .948 OPS. Ramos just doesn't have the name recognition to get voted into the All-Star Game, but he's certainly deserving of the trip to San Diego in a couple of weeks. It's hard to imagine where the Nats' offense would be without the consistent contributions of these two this season.
Stephen Strasburg. The Nats' big righty, primed for an All-Star nomination at 10-0/2.90/1.065, was scratched again for Sunday's start against Milwaukee in the series finale, with Tanner Roark pitching on normal rest taking his place. After missing his last start with an "upper back strain," the team said Strasburg had two ribs "popped back into place," which sounds super uncomfortable to me. Strasburg said after a bullpen session on Friday that he expected to start on Sunday, but after Saturday's loss the Nats scratched him again.
If the Nats feel like they need another arm to cover from the bullpen being worked over due to Gonzalez's poor outing, they could put Strasburg on the 15-day DL, retro to his last start, and he'd only miss one more start.
Of course, if they really think he'll make his next start they'll just make do. Either way, it's not great news that Strasburg needed to be scratched again and hopefully it's just soreness from whatever procedure or treatment he got rather than sign of a deeper injury.
Gio Gonzalez. He was roughed up again -- six earned runs on six hits and one walk in three innings with five strikeouts. Gio falls to 3-7 and has been ineffective in his last seven outings, allowing 35 earned runs and only once going past 6 1/3.
In fact, in five June starts (including Saturday's debacle) he's pitching to a 7.16 ERA over 27 2/3 innings. Gio is the only lefty in the rotation and the Nats will do everything they can to get him straightened out, but they have to be starting to explore other options.
Obviously, the first two pitchers fans will look to are Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Giolito made several really strong starts for AA-Harrisburg but his performance has been uneven -- though he's pitched to a 3.17 ERA with 72 Ks in 71 innings. Lopez has struck out 23 in his last two starts, including 10 in Saturday's eight innings in a 4-0 shutout, and he's had double-digit Ks in four of five starts. At Syracuse, Austin Voth owns a 2.99 ERA with 75 Ks in 81 1/3 innings and could be primed to make his MLB debut should the Nats feel the need to give Gio a break.