Archive for the ‘Ross Detwiler’ Category
Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Phillies southpaw Cliff Lee threw eight complete innings of five hit baseball and held the Nationals to just two runs, and the Phillies came away with an easy 4-2 victory over Washington at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Lee’s victory was his ninth of the year against just two losses.
“Lee came right after us and threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. I mean, he came right after us — really hard stuff,” Nat’s skipper Davey Johnson said. “He cut the fastball a little bit . . . You have to tip your cap to Mr. Lee. He pitched one heck of a game.”
Lee’s performance overawed that turned in by Washington’s own lefty, Ross Detwiler, who turned in a six inning seven hit performance. The big bats for Philadelphia were Michael Young (who was 3-4), and second sacker Kevin Frandsen, who rapped two RBIs, both of them on a game deciding single in the bottom of the sixth.
The Nationals remain upbeat about their prospects this season, but are asked after every win and loss when they will start to play consistently. Wednesday night was no different, particularly given the fact that the Atlanta Braves dropped two games to the New York Mets in Atlanta.
“We need to get on a roll,” right fielder Jayson Werth acknowledged after Tuesday’s loss. “You got to have start rallies, winning streaks. Usually, that’s how you create an identity. That’s how you mash together, that’s where chemistry comes from.”
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
The Nats won their fourth game in five outings and won their away series in Colorado by taking the third game of the three game set, 5-4. The big hit in the game came off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, whose 8th inning double off of Colorado reliever Matt Belisle scored Roger Bernadina with the go-ahead, and deciding run.
The victory marked the return of lefty starter Ross Detwiler to the Washington rotation, and the youngster picked up where he left off. While throwing only five innings, Detwiler notched two strike outs without a walk. While Colorado put up three runs against him, the Detwiler outing was good news for the Nats, who have been pitching short.
The game was marred by a Rockies-umpire standoff in the 7th inning. With Ian Desmond on second, Colorado’s reliever Wilton Lopez was called for two back-to-back balks — which brought Desmond home. The Rockies sniped at the umpires for the calls, but they stood. Lopez used a rule-breaking “stop-start motion” with his hands.
“Actually, he did it three times. They only called it twice,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said following the victory. “He kept going toward his glove, and then he would stop. They called two out of three. But you can’t be moving toward your glove and stop. It’s an automatic balk.”
That might have been the least of Colorado’s problems. Super-hitter Carlos Gonzalez left the game after he had a foul tip hit off his ankle while he stood in the on-deck circle in the first inning, Dexter Fowler took a Detwiler pitch off his right hand in the third, and Troy Tulowitzki aggravated his sore ribs when he dove for a grounder in the eighth inning.
Saturday, June 8th, 2013
It’s the World Series or bust, Davey Johnson told Nats’ fans during Spring Training, and our expectations soared. As well they might: the team had league’s best starting pitching, a potent and potentially powerful line-up of young bats (including Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper), and a young and solid bullpen — with a new closer.
Now (with one-third of the season in the books), the Nats are mired in third place in the National League East, the starting pitching is not what it should be (Stephen Strasburg is on the DL, Ross Detwiler is rehabbing, Dan Haren has been ineffective), Bryce Harper is visiting a specialist to look at his knee and the team’s bullpen is shakey, at best.
Clearly, a kind of turning point has been reached. This morning, the Washington Post weighed in with a front page team assessment, complemented by a Sports section Tracee Hamilton offering that concludes that the team “can’t hit, pitch or field with anything approaching consistency.”
All true. But Nats’ fans can at least be thankful that all of this seems to have seeped into the consciousness of Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson, who’ve spent the last week (and more) retooling a punchless offense — and providing a new look to an embarrassingly so-so bullpen.
Hence: Danny Espinosa was sent to the disabled list (and, truth be said, to Triple-A), Anthony Rendon was brought in to play second base, and Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke were sent packing. That’s four big moves (and counting), including a roster-shifting one: it’s not often that a team changes their second baseman in mid-stride.
And then there’s the bullpen. Once upon a time, Davey Johnson said that while he was comfortable with a single lefty out of the pen, he might want to have more. He now has three (and potentially four), and none of them are named Zach Duke, who started the season with confidence that he could get the job done. He couldn’t.
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
While the debut of Double-A pitcher Nathan Karns will not go down in the scorebooks as a “W” for the young righty, the Texas Tech product threw a strike-filled impressive 4.1 innings — and the Nationals, behind two home runs from Adam LaRoche, drubbed the Orioles on Tuesday night, 9-3.
Washington’s interleague victory may mark the moment when the Nationals finally got their offense back on track. In addition to the two home runs from LaRoche, super-subs Roger Bernadina and Tyler Moore also went long, as the home towners cracked thirteen hits against a surprisingly ineffective Baltimore pitching staff.
“It was great to see [the offense come back to life],” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “Some guys usually take two or three strikes, and they went up there and hit line drives. We jumped all over a 97 mile-an-hour fastball, and that made my whole night.”
Johnson also praised his young starter, appearing on the mound in the place of injured Ross Detwiler. “I thought [Nathan] handled himself well, first start against a good hitting ballclub,” Johnson said. “I know he was nervous, but I like the way he went after the hitters. He is in for another start.”
In an up-and-down season, Tuesday’s game showed Nationals’ fans what their team can do. Their starting pitching was effective, the team hit with runners in scoring position — and the bullpen was lights-out. After Karns left in the fifth, Zach Duke needed just one pitch, inducing a double play, to save the Nationals from a potential Baltimore rally.
Duke was followed to the mound by Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Fernando Abad, all of whom kept the Orioles off the scoreboard. Storen was as effective as he’s been all year, giving up a single hit in a single inning of work. Tyler Clippard gave up two hits, but then induced three successive fly balls — and Fernando Abad authored a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
“It was a tough night, tough night,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Johnson said of Washington’s disappointing 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Johnson’s words reflected not simply the team’s latest inability to score runs, but a rash of in-game injuries — to lefty starter Ross Detwiler (who left with back tightness after the third inning) and catcher Wilson Ramos, who reinjured his hamstring and left the game in the top of the 4th inning.
Wednesday night’s loss to the Dodgers left the Nationals at just two games over .500, and allowed Los Angeles to take the three game series. The problem for Washington (aside from the two injuries) continued to be the team’s inability to drive in runs: the Nats’ stroked nine hits in Wednesday’s loss, but left 16 runners on base.
For L.A., the big story of the night was the return of Zack Greinke, who took the mound after more than four weeks on the disabled list. Greinke pitched five complete innings in notching his second win on the season. “I thought my stuff was pretty good,” he said after the victory. “My stamina needs to grow a little bit, but that could be next start.”
While there’s no doubt that Greinke pitched well, the Nationals had several opportunities to knock him out of the game — but were unable to capitalize. Before leaving the game, Wilson Ramos got on base in both of his at-bats, but was left stranded his teammates. The only Washington score in the early going (and all night) came in a home run off the bat of Adam LaRoche, his fourth of the season.
The only piece of good news for the Nationals was the continued brilliant relief pitching of Craig Stammen who came in after Detwiler left the game and kept the Dodgers scoreless in three innings of work. Stammen has been the best pitcher in the Washington bullpen and lowered his ERA to 2.25 on the year.
The best chance to win the game for the Nationals came in the 8th inning, when the Nationals had runners on first and third with nobody out but weren’t able to push across a run. “We had the right guys up there,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if we are trying to do too much instead of just hitting the ball and putting it in play. I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: It’s amazing but true — after losing two of three in L.A. (and after struggling at the plate), Washington is still only one game behind the Atlanta Braves in the surprisingly uncompetitive N.L East . . .
The reason? The Braves have a deplorable road record, going only 7-13 on their two ten game road trips this year. The losses have been keenly felt in Atlanta, particularly after the early 12-1 start. The Braves have only won ten of their last 27 games, and are 11-15 against teams better than .500 . . .
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
Ian Desmond went 3-4, which included a home run and an RBI double, and the Nationals won their fifth in a row in downing the Chicago Cubs, 7-3 at Nationals Park. Desmond’s hitting came at just the right time: Jayson Werth is poised to go on the D.L. and Bryce Harper sat out with an ingrown toenail.
While the Cubs pounded out more hits than the Nationals (10 vs. 9), Washington made their at-bats count: the Nationals left only eight men on base during the game, while the Cubs stranded 15.
“I go out there and try to play to win,” Desmond said after the victory. “It seems like every year that I’ve been here, we have gotten a little bit better. That’s all you could really ask for as a player”
The Nationals feasted off the fastball pitching of Chicago Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardzija, who gave up five earned runs in five innings. “I needed to make a couple better pitches and get out of those innings with no damage and get your offense back in the dugout to score some runs,” Samardzija said.
Washington lefty Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, was able to scatter eight Chicago hits over 6.2 innings of work, with steady Craig Stammen throwing 2.1 innings in solid relief. The victory marked Detwiler’s second win of the season, while Stammen sports an impressive 2.65 ERA in 17 innings of work.
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Angel Hernandez was behind the plate for last night’s Nationals-Cubs match-up, and his strike zone was as wiggy as it’s always been. Hernandez is at the center of the storm over a blown call in Cleveland on Thursday. Given Hernandez’s reputation, that’s hardly a surprise . . .
The Hernandez home run controversy is now legion: with two outs in the top of the 9th, the A’s Adam Rosales launched a shot into the stands at Progressive Field which bounced off a railing above the fence and back onto the field. The umpiring crew called it a double, then retreated to the clubhouse to review the videotape . . .
Saturday, May 4th, 2013
These are not your daddy’s Pittsburgh Pirates, these are the “real deal” Pirates, a team that has not won in nearly two decades but that sits now, at 17-12, just one game from the top in the National League Central. On Friday night they proved they belong there, as A.J. Burnett struck out nine Nationals in leading the Buccos in a 3-1 win over the home-towners.
Burnett gave up just five hits and one walk in subduing the Nationals, getting help from Jordy Mercer, who homered to break the tie and give Pittsburgh the win. The Nationals seemed particularly ineffective against Pirates’ pitching: they were 1-3 with runners in scoring position and struck out 14 times in all.
“Our offense seems to be sputtering. We just can’t get anything going. That’s our problem,” Nats’ skipper Davy Johnson said in the clubhouse after the loss. “We are not hitting balls early in the count. We have a lot better hitters than we are showing.”
The Nationals had every chance of winning, particularly with lefty Ross Detwiler on the mound. But Detwiler lasted only five innings, lifted by Johnson after giving up six hits and two walks. Detwiler was victimized by Nats’ killer Andrew McCutchen, who put a Detwiler offering into the left field seats with two out in the first inning.
“He is not going to hit a home run every time, but it seems like against us, he does,” Detwiler said of McCutchen’s Friday night performance. “You have to focus on keeping the ball down. Don’t let him lift the ball, though.”
Indeed, the Pirates’ centerfielder clearly has the Nats’ number: in twenty-four games against the Nats, McCutchen is hitting .456 with six doubles, two triples, 11 homers, 22 RBIs and 24 runs scored. McCutchen was 3-4 last night, lifting his season BA to .257.
The Nats loss in Pittsburgh put the team back at 15-15 for the year. One year ago, the team was 18-12. The frustration is starting to show, even with Davey Johnson, who called on his team to be more aggressive. “We are kind of hitting rock bottom. We just need to man up,” he said. “Let’s start doing the things we are capable of doing. The ones that get me are the [called strikeouts].
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: Of course, the Pirates didn’t “steal” last night’s game (as our headline notes), but used the long ball and a rookie to seal the win. Our headline is, rather, a nod to the Bucco’s long history. They got their name for “pirating” Lou Bierbauer from the Philadelphia Athletics back in 1890 . . .
Since their founding in 1882 (as the Alleghenys), the Pirates have won only five world championships, the most recent in 1979, when the Willie Stargell led “family” subdued Baltimore’s Orioles. But the Pirates haven’t done anything since 1992, when they lost the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves . . .