Let's start with the obvious stat from Wednesday night. For the first time in the history of Nationals Park, a player has hit 3 home runs in one game. That guy, fittingly, is Adam Dunn. (Soriano did it in RFK in 2006.) Dunn got his curtain call, and maybe a reminder to Rizzo and Kasten: Re-sign this guy!
Now let's go on to another great story of the night: J.D. Martin. J.D. Martin came into this game 0-4. Talk about a deceptive, meaningless stat. If you only look an inch further, Martin hadn't gotten more than 2 runs of run support in any of his 4 decisions. Well, tonight Martin got some run support, and as much as the bullpen tried to give it away, they couldn't do it. Martin got the win.
After 7 starts, J.D. Martin has posted a 3.35 ERA; he's struck out 26 batters and has only walked 5; he's gone 5 or more inning in 6 of his 7 starts. It's easy to look at wins and losses and say, "wow, that guy's a bad pitcher," and I've been guilty of that. I was shocked to see that Craig Stammen was sent down to AAA before Martin to make room for Strasburg. Turns out, if I had really investigated the stats, even at the time, I would have been wrong.
I don't know that Martin can be a solid rotation guy for the Nats long term. Only time will tell. I can tell you one thing, though. Even if the stars align and Jordan Zimmermann is ready to be the number 2 guy next year behind Strasburg, and even if Ross Detwiler is ready to go, and even if Jason Marquis comes back to All-Star, 15 win form... wow... that's a lot of if's people. If, and it's a big if, J.D. Martin ends the season with the stats he has right now: an ERA in the 3s, and a 1 to 5 walk to strikeout ratio, he very well could end up in the Nationals rotation in 2011.
The Nats could only hope for a bottom of the rotation guy that could be as consistent as... J.D. Martin has been half way through this year.... Talk about lines you never thought you'd type.