The Nationals could still make a run without Stephen Strasburg

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The Nationals enter today’s action with the best record in baseball at 85-53. Yet with the attention given to the unique situation involving the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg, one would think they would be doomed without him. That’s just not the case. And it’s really a discredit to a well-balanced ballclub.

Nationals starters are first in the majors with a 3.29 ERA, but as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post notes, their 3.31 ERA without him would still be the best. Gio Gonzalez (2.98 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (2.99 ERA), Ross Detwiler (3.15 ERA) and Edwin Jackson (3.63 ERA) are all among the top 20 in the National League in ERA. Having Strasburg available would certainly enhance their chances of making a deep run in the postseason, but they are still pretty stocked in the rotation.

And that’s not even talking about the other areas of the ballclub. Nationals relievers rank fifth in the National League with a 3.34 ERA, even though Drew Storen missed most of the season following elbow surgery. The offense struggled early on due to injuries to Michael Morse, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, but with their full lineup finally in place, they are first in the National League and second in the majors with 280 runs scored since the All-Star break.

If the Nationals lose during the postseason, this decision will be questioned. If Strasburg gets hurt next year despite the shutdown, this decision will be questioned. If the Nationals never get this close again, this decision will be questioned. And rightfully so. But regardless of your feelings on the situation, it’s important to recognize that this team is about more than one guy.

Blue Jays designate Edwin Jackson for assignment

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Back in May journeyman Edwin Jackson debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays. When he did so, he made history by suiting up for a record 14th different team in his 17-year big league career.

Sadly the 14th time wasn’t the charm, as Jackson has been knocked around pretty good with Toronto, posting an 11.12 ERA in 28 and a third innings over eight appearances, five of which came as starts. He was just insanely hittable over that span, allowing a staggering 15.6 hits per nine innings. As such, it’s not too surprising that the Jays designated Jackson for assignment today. They did so to make room for Jacob Waguespack, who will start tonight’s game against the Red Sox.

Jackson, 35, will not try to latch on with team number 15. Or, I suppose, he he has almost even odds to re-join an old team.