Jim Leyland is not happy with Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer

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Before the season, whenever a radio host asked me to make my division winner picks, I would say something like “if I had to bet my children on the outcome of any race, it’d be the AL Central. The Tigers are a lock.” So far, not good. Sorry Mookie and Carlo, but you’re gonna have to pack your little bags and go live with the nice people at the casino or whatever.

Jim Leyland seems more unhappy about than I am, however (look, my kids can be annoying sometimes). And his ire is directed mostly at his third and fourth starters, who are not getting the job done:

“It has to get better. It’s hard for any bullpen to survive a couple starts like we had the last couple days. Two days in a row and 100 pitches by starting pitchers in the fourth inning? That’s not acceptable.”

But as Leyland notes, sending down either of them is not on the table. There really isn’t anyone else to take the job. This team, to be successful, has to have Scherzer and Porcello eat innings at the very least. To keep them in ballgames. To give the offense a chance and to minimize the amount of innings a flawed bullpen is forced to pitch.

And boy howdy have they not been doing that.

Nationals place Jeremy Hellickson on disabled list with a sprained wrist

Jeremy Hellickson
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Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson has been assigned to the 10-day disabled list after spraining his right wrist during a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday. The assignment is retroactive to August 15, though it’s not yet certain that Hellickson will be able to resume his role in the rotation after the minimum 10 days.

The 31-year-old righty was through 4 1/3 innings during Wednesday’s start when he threw a wild pitch behind the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina in the bottom of the fifth. He sprinted to cover home plate just as Harrison Bader took off from third base, and the two collided at the plate as Spencer Kieboom‘s throw home sailed over Hellickson’s head. He tumbled to the ground and rolled over his right wrist, then was forced to make a prompt exit from the field after feeling considerable soreness in his right hand.

While the X-rays returned negative, it makes sense for the Nationals to shelve Hellickson for the time being. In a best case scenario, he should miss only one turn through the rotation, provided that he’s able to work back up to full strength in the next week or so. The veteran righty is 5-3 in 18 starts this year with a 3.57 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 across 88 1/3 innings. This will be his second official stint on the DL after missing nearly a month due to a right hamstring strain back in June.

In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and will fill in for Hellickson during Saturday’s set against the Marlins. Rodriguez, 25, has yet to get comfortable on the major league stage: entering Saturday, the rookie owns a 5.84 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 through 24 2/3 innings.