With Sean Burnett struggling to even get lefties out right now, and Doug Slaten on the D.L. where he mercifully can't allow any inherited runners to score, what options do the Nats have for left-handed relievers?
Well, Syracuse doesn't really have any options. Atahualpa Severino is on the 40-man roster, but he just came back from injury last week and in four outings has posted a 10.80 ERA, giving up six hits, two walks and four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, so he needs some time to shake the rust off. Lee Hyde was a Braves farmhand the Nats picked up but he has struggled in Syracuse as well, posting a 6.75 ERA in 17 1/3 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .324 off him.
Is there another option? Hold on to your hats, it's about to get freaky in here.
Down at Double-A Harrisburg, the Nats have a lefty starter trying to make his way back to the big leagues. This guy had some real good success for a while, before control and attitude issues, along with the pressure of playing in a big market, got to him. He's been nothing short of dominating for the Senators. In four starts, he's 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, allowing just four earned runs on 15 hits and three walks in 19 innings. He's struck out 14 and walked just three in four starts.
Of course, I'm referring to Oliver Perez.
Relieving isn't his preferred role, and the fact he was vocal about it and refused a minor league assignment in New York contributed to his demise there. But he's been pitching like a guy desperate to get back into the big leagues and he's holding lefties to a .143 average. Maybe for the sake of returning to Major League Baseball he would be responsive to the opportunity.
Perez has a big league arm. Maybe it's time to find out if he's ready to use it again.