You can extract any number of remarkable facts and figures from this Nationals’ season, and here’s one that ranks near the top of that list: The last 11 Nationals victories have been won by 11 different pitchers. They are, in order, Sean Burnett, Jordan Zimmermann, Todd Coffey, John Lannan, Tyler Clippard, Collin Balester, Livan Hernandez, Drew Storen, Ryan Mattheus, Henry Rodriguez and, on Tuesday night, Ross Detwiler.
Detwiler made his first start of the season, allowing two runs, both scoring on Aramis Ramirez’s homer, in 5 1/3 innings. Detwiler carried a shutout into the sixth and gave up only four hits and a walk all night.
In 16 starts at Class AAA Syracuse, Detwiler went 6-6 with a 4.53 ERA. He maintained the mechanical change that led his excellent spring training, keeping his stride to the plate shorter and straighter toward the plate. He was throwing all three of his pitches – fastball, change, curve – for strikes.
“The biggest thing is, he’s commanded fastball better than early in his career,” Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams said. “I feel real good about where he’s at.”
In the spring, Detwiler showed more than he ever had before why the Nationals chose him with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 draft. He carried it into his first few starts at Syracuse, but then hit “a blip,” pitching coordinator Spin Williams said. In May, he went 1-5 with an 8.70 ERA – he walked 14 and struck out 18 in 30 innings over six starts.
In June, he righted his season. He went 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA. “I really feel like I’ve been attacking hitters lately,” Detwiler said. “It’s hard to describe. I’ve been just having more of an attitude, for lack of a better phrase. I’ve been getting ahead [in the count]. That’s pretty much it.”
In five days, Detwiler might get the chance to start again. The Nationals might skip Jordan Zimmermann before the all-star break in order to help extend his season. If so, Detwiler will probably remain in the majors and make at least one more start.
“I came here to pitch for one day,” Detwiler said. “Anything after that is a blessing.”
FROM THE POST
In a 3-2 win over the Cubs, Tyler Clippard provided another huge performance and the Nationals ensured their past nine wins have all been by one rin.
Bryce Harper had an impressive second game in Harrisburg even without a hit, Gene Wang writes.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Buffalo 11, Syracuse 6: Chris Marrero went 2 for 4 with a home run. Making a rehab appearance, Chad Gaudin allowed three runs, none earned, in 2 2/3 innings on two hits and two walks, striking out two.
Harrisburg 7, Erie 3: Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 with an RBI groundout and two outfield assists. Tyler Moore went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Erik Arnesen allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings on seven hits and two walks, striking out four.
Potomac 12, Wilmington 3: In his Potomac debut, Sammy Solis allowed three runs in six innings on seven hits and a walk, striking out five. Jeff Kobernus went 3 for 5 with two doubles. J.P. Ramirez went 2 for 5 with a grand slam.
Hagerstown 4, Lakewood 3: Blake Kelso went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. Chris Manno struck out five in two perfect innings for his 11th save of the season. He’s got a 0.95 ERA.
Auburn 4, State College 2: Matt Skole went 2 for 3 with a walk. Caleb Ramsey went 2 for 4 with two steals. Kelvin Lopez allowed no runs in three innings on three hits and no walks, striking out four.