With the Washington Nationals off to a rough 13-17 start this season, after a disappointing 82-80 campaign in 2018, some changes should probably have been expected, and after the Nats avoided a sweep of their four-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, the team announced that they were letting second-year pitching coach Derek Lilliquiest go, replacing him with Minor League pitching coordinator Paul Menhart.
Lilliquist was hired as part of manager Davey Martinez’s staff after Mike Maddux left for St. Louis in the winter of 2017-18.
Menhart has served as the organization’s Minor League pitching coordinator since 2015, and worked in the organization for 14 seasons after coming over, “from Western Carolina University where he spent three years (2003-2005) as their pitching coach,” as the Nats noted in a press release on the changes this evening.
GM Mike Rizzo made the announcement after the conclusion of the series finale with the Cards in the nation’s capital.
Going into the fourth game of four with the NL Central club, the Nationals’ starting rotation led the National League in strikeouts (194 Ks), led the NL in K/9 (10.07) and were second in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.53 K/BB), but the bullpen, which kept the Nats ahead after 6 2⁄3 IP from Stephen Strasburg tonight, has struggled mightily to start the season.
More info, and quotes from Rizzo’s post-game presser when it’s available...