A Nationals doubleheader against the Pirates on Saturday does many things: gives fans two games in a one day, offers a chance to makeup a missed game from May and allow the hometown team an opportunity to inch past a .500 record.
But, it also throws the starting rotation off track for a day. Tom Gorzelanny, who allowed only one unearned run, six hits and struck out eight over seven innings in Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Pirates, would normally be scheduled to start again on Tuesday — on only three day’s rest.
Manager Davey Johnson said he would not use any other starter nor Gorzelanny, who was on the disabled list from late May to mid June with an inflammed left elbow, and the Nationals would make a roster move for that spot start against the Chicago Cubs. Gorzelanny normally pitches after Jordan Zimmermann, who is scheduled to start Monday’s game.
“It’s too early in the season to be bringing guys back on three days rest,” Johnson said. “It really falls on Gorzelanny and he’s had some tenderness early on in the year. So we definitely don’t want him to come back on three days rest.”
Johnson has options for Tuesday’s start. Ross Detweiler, a Class AAA Syracuse starter who started 14 games for the Nationals in 2009 and five last season, is a strong possibility to be called up for Tuesday’s start, Johnson said. Detweiler, who has a 2-9 career record and 4.74 ERA with the Nationals, is 4-4 with 4.47 ERA this season with Syracuse.
Tom Milone, another Syracuse starter, is also a possibility, Johnson said. Milone is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA for Syracuse so far this season.
In his first week as the Nationals manager, Johnson said he was interested in giving more defined roles to the relievers, including finding a de facto sixth starter. On Saturday, Johnson said reliever Collin Balester, who has been a starting pitcher earlier in his career, would act as the team’s long reliever and could pitch three innings, for example, if a starter doesn’t last long in the game. “He’s definitely my long-man at this point,” Johnson said.
On a day when the Nationals will need all the arms they can use, Johnson will be short one. Reliever Henry Rodriguez was sent home from the ballpark Saturday morning because he is still dealing with strep throat.
Johnson said he wasn’t opposed to using some relievers, including those who pitched in Friday’s game, in both games on Saturday.