Rogers shines in debut
Starting pitcher/Zack Greinke replacement Mark Rogers pitched very well on Sunday, keeping the Nationals offense at bay to the tune of two runs in 5 2/3 impressive innings. Rogers was effectively wild, issuing only one walk and getting Nationals batters to chase outside pitches consistently (all seven strikeouts were of the swinging variety). He threw primarily fastball-slider, with a handful of changeups and curveballs mixed in, and his fastball was still touching 98 mph in the 6th inning. He showed the ability to throw the slider for strikes as well as the willingness to throw it against lefties and when he was behind in the count.
Predictably, the bullpen blew the game in spectacular fashion, as they were unable to hold down leads of 7-3 and 9-7 on the way to losing the game 11-10 in extra innings. Nonetheless, Rogers' performance was encouraging and he'll be an interesting watch for the rest of the season.
Stan Kyles fired
The team announced today that bullpen coach Stan Kyles was jettisoned an what is likely a glorified PR move. It's hard to comment on this story without having any clue how much the bullpen coach actually does, but the bullpen has been horrific in just about every way, with every single reliever having regressed from previous norms (exception being Manny Parra, who is in his first year as a RP). Lee Tunnell, who was the Minor League pitching coordinator, has been announced as the new bullpen coach. Closing quotes from Kyles here. Classy way to go out, but doesn't strike me as the words of a man convinced he did a good job.
Tyler Thornburg was optioned back to AAA Nashville following Sunday's loss, for the sole purpose of getting back into a rhythm as a starter. Thornburg hadn't made a smooth transition to the bullpen, and suffered some dead arm last week after pitching in back-to-back days. A corresponding move has yet to be announced, though manager Ron Roenicke said a relief pitcher would be called up in Thornburg's place.