“I was excited to be here,” Ohlendorf said. “I’ve been feeling really good all season. It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. I was really happy we were able to get a win. A fun game for me.”
Ohlendorf’s performance was enough to convince Manager Davey Johnson that the right-hander should stay with the Nationals longer than a day and serve as insurance for Stephen Strasburg.
“An outstanding effort and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him,” Johnson said.
In a season with more questions than encouraging developments, the 30-year-old Ohlendorf, just 4-5 with a 4.27 ERA at Syracuse, gave the Nationals a needed lift. With Ross Detwiler and Strasburg soon to come off the disabled list, the Nationals still needed a starter.
Ohlendorf would have started Saturday if rain hadn’t postponed two games last week and changed the schedule. Ohlendorf, a Princeton graduate and only the second Nationals player to hail from the Ivy League, would have to wait. He last pitched for Syracuse six days earlier. He flew in from upstate New York on Tuesday night.
The Nationals signed Ohlendorf this winter for moments like this. Last year, no Nationals starters suffered no significant injuries and they used eight starters all season. As of Wednesday, Detwiler and Strasburg have both been out of action since late May and Ohlendorf represented their eighth starter of the season.
Ohlendorf, with his fourth major league organization, has the stuff to strike out batters, [he boasted an 8.4 strikeout rate at Syracuse], but has been prone to command issues, issuing 30 walks in 71 2
3 innings. But over his past three starts for Syracuse, Ohlendorf punched up a 1.56 ERA with 27 strikeouts over 17 1
3 innings. This was the Ohlendorf on display Wednesday.
“I know he was hungry to get back to the big leagues,” Desmond said. “That’s the outing we’ve been needing all year long.”
Ohlendorf’s windup, reminiscent of the sport’s older pitching motions, is a confluence of moving parts. He stands with his back foot near the third base side of the rubber, rocks on his left foot and swings both arms back behind his body. The windup delivery was new this season, an old suggestion from a Pirates coach when he played for Pittsburgh.