The journey back to first place starts with a single win. The Nats achieved that last night thanks to another stellar outing from Joe Ross. Once the doors to the bullpen swung open the Nats found themselves in trouble. Casey Janssen wasn't effective in the seventh and the Nats found their lack of bullpen depth exposed once more. The real loss of Craig Stammen is the loss of the bullpen ace. The pitcher willing to be used in any and all situations and the one who gets the Nats out of trouble with other relievers put them in it. For a couple years that was Tyler Clippard's role but when Clippard moved to exclusively the eighth inning that became Stammen's role and his injury has hurt the Nats far worse than anyone realized.
It is August and waiver trades can still be made. With David Carpenter on his way to see a third specialist the Nats need to add one more solid reliever to shore up the bullpen. Doug Fister could be that guy but it is unclear if his stuff will transfer to the bullpen or how long he's going to take to warm up. The idea of a change of pace reliever has been missing from bullpens since the early 2000's when there were junk ball, ground ball, and even fork ball pitchers in bullpens. Perhaps Doug Fister can be that change of pace reliever that baseball has seemingly rejected.
Yesterday's win was a good win but that doesn't mean it's a catalyst to anything. The Nats need to keep getting good starting pitching performances and the offense needs to produce the runs necessary to win. The Nats should be able to handle business against the Rockies this weekend but then they have a nine game three city road trip to LA, San Fran, and Colorado. That is not going to be easy and already being down in the division is no help. The best thing for the Nats to do is beat the Mets in the remaining six games they play against them.