Washington’s bullpen covered three scoreless innings after Max Scherzer’s six inning start against the Chicago Cubs, but the Nationals’ relief corps, as a group, still ended the night with the highest ERA in the National League (4.91), the second-highest FIP (4.66), highest HR/9 (1.51), highest batting average against (.268), third-worst BABIP-against (.312), and fifth-highest WHIP (1.41).
In his weekly chat with readers this past Monday, Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell rehashed the Nationals’ search for relief help this winter, the pursuit of Mark Melancon, who left D.C. for San Francisco (and is back on the DL with a pronator strain), the run at Kenley Jansen, who returned to Los Angeles, and the attempts to acquire David Robertson and sign free agent Greg Holland, noting that the Nationals were close to getting their Plan C (Roberston & Holland), “... when the ownership stalled or sank the deals.”
Boswell also wrote about a Nats’ player who came up to him in and asked the veteran reporter a question of his own:
“On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, ‘When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.’
“He didn't even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom ‘they’ were, but it's the bullpen and the Lerners.
A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, ‘How's it going?’ and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what's happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked about the bullpen again and the anonymous quote in Boswell’s chat during his weekly spot on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this morning, and he said he thought that the relievers were trending in the right direction right now, and he had this to say about people who are wondering what the team is waiting for in terms of adding relievers to fix the issues.
“Since 2012, we’ve won the most baseball games in all of baseball,” Rizzo told the Junkies.
“We’ve been in first place 595 days since 2012, the most in baseball by about 40 or 50 days, we know what we’re doing, we’re pretty damn good at it, we’ve been successful at it our whole career. That person or persons should worry about their own particular job. To me it’s all about the name on the front of the jersey, not the back of the jersey, so we’re going to figure this thing out.”
“Our bullpen is going in the right direction,” Rizzo continued. “You’ve got Blake Treinen who’s thrown extremely well, he’s got a 3.00 ERA, [Enny] Romero hasn’t given up a run in June, [Oliver] Perez has got a 1.50 ERA in June, the numbers are going to return to their mean, like we’ve always said, and they’re throwing well, that’s not to say that we’re not doing our part and our job, which we will, which we’ve done every season, every trade deadline that I’ve been the general manager.
“We’re in first place, we’re playing .600 baseball, we’ve got a good lead in the division and we’re certainly not satisfied.”
As for the anonymous player who offered their own thoughts on the pursuit of relief help?
“If I were to speak to whoever this person is,” Rizzo said, “... which you know I love these anonymous quotes from people — ‘Put your name on it or shut up,’ that’s what I would say.”
Junkies [paraphrasing question]: “Do you ever ask the clubhouse who’s talking or let it be?”
“You’ve got to let it be,” Rizzo said. “Because you’d never find out, because ‘Boz’ can’t tell you, that’s part of his gig, and the players aren’t going to admit up to it, because if they did there would be quotation marks around the comment and not from an anonymous source.”