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Ozzie likes Nats' rotation, even without Strasburg

Ozzie likes Nats' rotation, even without Strasburg

Ozzie likes Nats' rotation, even without Strasburg
WASHINGTON -- The Marlins were responsible for Stephen Strasburg's most recent loss back on Aug. 28, and as the club traveled to the nation's capital for Strasburg's last home start of the season, manager Ozzie Guillen said he thinks the Nationals are talented enough to win without their young ace.

Before the Marlins were set to face Strasburg on Friday night, Guillen addressed the media craze about the ace's shutdown, which will come after the Nats' Sept. 12 game at the Mets.

"In my opinion, in what I see, do they need him? Yes," Guillen said. "But the four guys they have behind are [pretty] good, too."

The Nats enter this weekend's series with baseball's best rotation ERA at 3.24. Strasburg was 15-6 with a 2.94 ERA over 156 1/3 innings. That ERA leads the Nats' rotation, though Gio Gonzalez (2.98) and Jordan Zimmermann (2.99) aren't far behind.

Guillen was also enamored with Ross Detwiler, the Nats' No. 5 starter who figures to see an increased role once Strasburg is shut down. Detwiler is 9-6 with a 3.15 ERA over 140 innings, though he is 7-3 with a 2.79 ERA since the All-Star break.

"That lefty's better than everyone the past three months," Guillen said. "They don't talk about him."

Much of the discussion on Strasburg's shutdown has centered on the Nats' postseason prospects, as the National League East leaders carry baseball's best record of 85-52 into the weekend series. But with Washington's bullpen ERA of 3.31 ranking 11th in MLB and fifth in the NL, Guillen isn't convinced the Nats will be much worse off come October.

"I'll tell you what, the bullpen they have, that is the difference in any playoffs," Guillen said. "Postseason is who got the bigger hit with two outs and who's pitched better. A lot of opportunity comes with two outs and men on base. You get a big hit with two outs, you win."

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