The Nats rotation is a cause for concern? But I thought that was impossible!

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Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post on September 2:

The four-man rotation, primed for October that I’ve described is Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. So all of the pundits who say the Nats can’t go to the Series or even win it, just because they won’t have Strasburg, can kiss my press pass.

Barry Svrgula of The Washington Post, today:

Zimmermann’s start Monday continued a worrisome trend … Mix in poor starts from Jackson and Detwiler in blowout losses Sept. 28 and 30, respectively, with the shaky outings from Gonzalez and Zimmermann to open the postseason, and the Nationals’ most recent turn through the rotation against St. Louis has yielded 112 / innings, 16 walks and a 13.89 ERA.

Svrgula ends his column by noting that the Number One Starter Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken had a great start against the Cardinals just before his shutdown.

No, I don’t think that the Nats are toast. It’s tied for cryin’ out loud, and Edwin Jackson is capable of shutting anyone down. But the lesson of Game 2 — and really any playoff game in history — is that anything can happen. Your top pitchers can have bad outings sometimes, no matter how great they were in the regular season.

Which means that you can never have enough good pitchers. And which means that boorishly mocking anyone who dared suggest that maybe — just maybe — a team would like to have a pitcher like Stephen Strasburg in the playoffs was kinda silly.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.