“It’s kind of a common practice that people have done this for years,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said. “And to point one guy out because he had pitched here a couple years, there is probably some common knowledge based on that, and so I thought it was a real cowardly [move]. It was kind of a [chicken] move to go out there and do that under those circumstances.”
The Nationals already had enough intrigue, though, mostly wrapped in the question of what to do about their fifth starter. Wang produced a clunker, yielding five runs on seven hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings and raising his ERA in four starts to 6.75. Ross Detwiler, the hard-throwing left-hander who began the season as the Nationals’ fifth starter, retired 11 of the 12 batters he faced in 3 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings in relief of Wang.
Johnson still indicated he will stick with Wang, the veteran who returned last year from major shoulder surgery and then missed the first month of this season after tearing a hamstring in spring training.
“I know how good he can be,” Johnson said. “My job is to get everybody doing the things they’re capable of doing. That’s my job. If I thought he could get it better out of the bullpen, that would come into the decision. I’m not going to make a decision right after a rough outing.”
Said Wang: “It’s kind of frustrating for me right now. I was trying to locate my ball today, and it wasn’t working.”
Wang’s effort put the Nationals in a 5-2 hole. They made it a game when Michael Morse drilled a two-run home run, his first homer of the season, in the sixth inning off ace lefty David Price. The Nationals could not score again to tie the game off the Rays bullpen, but they managed to make it interesting in another way.
Peralta, who pitched for Class AAA Syracuse and the Nationals in 2010, entered to face pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi to start the bottom of the eighth. Home plate umpire Tim Tschida, at the urging of Johnson, walked to the mound and inspected Peralta’s glove. After a couple minutes, one of the umpires confiscated the glove and walked off the field. Peralta was ejected for using a “foreign substance” on his glove.
“It was a significant amount of pine tar,” Tschida said.