Can you trust the Nationals' rotation?

Updated: April 16, 2012, 5:42 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Entering Monday, the Washington Nationals led baseball with a 1.99 ERA and their starting pitchers were performing even better, posting a 1.75 mark. Really, the Nationals? Right-hander Stephen Strasburg is clearly special and Jordan Zimmermann was good in 2011 but … well, it's 10 games. There are 152 to go. But SweetSpot blogger Dave Schoenfield and I were able to compare the Nationals' pitching staff favorably to that of the vaunted Philadelphia Phillies in our video Monday, so allow me to elaborate here.

Strasburg versus Roy Halladay doesn't seem a fair fight, at least not yet, since Strasburg is likely to be on an innings limit this season, but in a year or two the case will be easier to make. Strasburg's ERA after two starts is 0.69. It's going to go up into the 2s, but he's a contender for the ERA title. In 19 career starts over three seasons, his ERA is 2.31. My only question mark with Strasburg is durability, not ability.