The Washington Nationals lost their fourth game in six tries Saturday afternoon against the Phillies. That the Nationals lost isn't in and of itself terribly important. Our goal is to win each series, and that can still be accomplished tomorrow. That the Nationals were shut-out isn't terribly important either, as the Nationals aren't known for their offense, especially when three of their top starters are out with injuries, and one is just back from the DL and trying to get his "sea legs."
There were, however, two important things that came out of Saturday's game. One, John Patterson continues to prove to both fans and management that he is, is a consistent, top-notch starter for the team. Patterson's ERA is now a sterling 2.91. Look at the pitching lineup the Nats can throw: Hernandez: 3.48 - Patterson: 2.91 - Loiaza: 3.61 - Drese: 2.90 and Armas, still trying to shake the effects of his injury, 4.97. Combine these five with the back of the bullpen, and you've got a pitching staff that can win each and every night they play.
The second important thing to come out of the loss: Junior Spivey. Spivey fractured a bone in his arm and is due to have surgery next week. He will be out 3-4 months, effectively the rest of the season. No longer do the Nationals have a seasoned veteran who can spell Vidro a couple games a week so that he doesn't wear down too fast in the hot July heat at RFK. This one hurts. We're now back to having Jamie Carroll as the sole backup at second and short, and he has shown that his production drops as his playing time increases.
The positive side of all these injuries is that the Nationals will go to spring training in 2006 with virtually 2 starters at every position. The negative side is that is all but ends all of the hopes the Nationals had for holding onto first place, especially considering the way the Braves are playing right now. I'd say NOW is the right time to pull the trigger on the Preston Wilson trade.