Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez lamented the fact that roster considerations made it difficult to bring up bullpen help after Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins, in which he was forced to use some relievers he didn’t want to, and even turn to enthusiastic non-pitcher Mark Reynolds for an out late in the 10-2 loss.
“It’s tough,” Martinez explained.
“When we sent Timmy down, Collins, that was tough, I really believed we were going to lose him and he went through waivers and we were able to get him back which was really nice.
“But some of these guys, if they don’t [clear waivers] we might end up losing them, we don’t want to.
“I’m really happy with the guys we’ve got down there, just lengthwise,” the manager added, but, he said, “... our starters have to pitch deeper into the game, that’s the bottom line.
“When they start doing that we’ll be really good, and they did that earlier, and we were doing good in the month of May, so we’ve just got to get better.”
With the starters struggling, however, the bullpen is taxed, or strapped, as Martinez put it.
Another brief-ish outing by Jefry Rodriguez on Monday (five innings on 90 pitches) didn’t help.
Martinez talked after the game about having to do something to take some of the pressure off his relievers.
“It’s been tough,” he told reporters in PNC Park. “I’ve said this before, our bullpen has been heroic. These guys are doing things they haven’t done. Pitching two or three days in a row, pitching multiple innings, so they’re doing well, but I think the [over] course of the season things turn around, our starting pitchers will get back in form and they’ll pitch six, seven innings and our bullpen will get the rest that they need, but right now we’ve got to keep fighting, keep scratching and clawing.”
Asked if starting pitching was something the Nationals needed to address going into the non-waiver deadline, Martinez said the return of Stephen Strasburg (who’s going out for a rehab start today) should help settle things down, as will getting Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark straightened out.
“For right now getting Stras back is going to help us a lot, and then the other guys, I think Gio is going to be fine. We’ve got to figure out Tanner, because Tanner is good, and I know he’s good. We’ve got all the confidence in the world in him. He started off really well, wasn’t getting the wins, but he pitched well, so we got to get those guys back in form.”
As for the bullpen? Will they option Rodriguez back to Triple-A and bring up a reliever, and then use another starter the next time this spot comes up?
“After this I’ll sit down with [GM Mike Rizzo] and see what we’re going to do, but I think we definitely need to do something, because those guys are getting run out there every day, and like I said, some of these guys are having to pitch multiple innings a lot and they won’t survive the whole year doing that.”