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Detwiler dominates again

Apr 18, 2013, 4:17 AM EDT

Associated Press
Ross Detwiler tossed seven innings to earn his first win of the year.

MIAMI — On the surface, it may appear baffling how Ross Detwiler has been able to be so successful early this season when his pitching repertoire has been so basic. The Nationals left-hander has thrown 279 pitches in three starts, 258 of them fastballs. That’s an astounding 92.5 percent rate.

“A well-located fastball is still the hardest pitch to hit in the big leagues,” teammate Ryan Zimmerman said. “I think some people forget that sometimes.”

Detwiler is making everyone remember it. Amid a rotation full of star power and pure stuff, the 27-year-old has been the Nationals’ best starter so far during this young season. And with seven more strong innings Wednesday night against the Marlins, he finally was rewarded for his effort, leading the Nats to a 6-1 win to ensure a series victory in Miami.

Three starts in, Detwiler now boasts a 0.90 ERA, sixth-best in the majors. And if not for a blown call at the plate Wednesday by umpire Greg Gibson, that number would drop to a miniscule 0.45.

Not exactly your typical “No. 5 starter.”

“He’s definitely not,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s got great stuff, and he locates it well. He uses both sides of the plate as good as anybody I’ve seen. And his fastball’s explosive out of his hand. … He’s still in the learning stages, but he’s awfully good just right where he’s at.”
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  1. peric - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:34 AM

    Right now Detwiler has to be considered their best starter out of the gate. This is the way they're going to have to win games this season … with an ensemble cast featuring some of the younger players. The young guns on the bench are going to have to contribute regularly in this ensemble offense. Even with Harper there isn't going to be one marquis player leading the offense and from the looks of the rotation the same holds true for the pitching.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Apr 18, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    Det has looked fantastic in all three starts. OT, but in the Seattle – Detroit game the Mariners had 11 hits, 4BB's yet only scored 1 run. There were 40 strike outs between both teams!

  3. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Amazingly getting it done with 95% FB's unbelievable really

  5. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Uh get some sleep, Seamhead –

  6. Rabbit34 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    It is interesting, to me, what RZ said about fastballs. Is it true then, that other pitches should be used only if a pitcher doesn't have consistent accuracy in throwing a fastball, throughout the whole game? I understand, keep the batter off-balance, etc. But, 92% fastballs, Det has to be accurately locating the pitches. Wow, impressive!

  7. baseballswami - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Det and JZ are our most consistent pitchers. They may not be the ones with the best "stuff", but they have the right mental approach . Same applies to second base. Danny may very well be the most talented, but that baseball IQ and mental consistency that Lombo has equalizes the playing field. This is fascinating to watch unfold. And yes, I am a total baseball geek for thinking that.

  8. Doc - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Another former lefty, and Expo/Nat, who had a limited repertoir and great success (HOF bound?) was Randy Johnson. With the Big Unit it was more FB/Slider. Det's 2-Seamer is probably closer to a slider than a FB, but the same difference. One thing for sure, hitters can't sit on his FB, like you would find with most 2-pitch guys.Even though Cat and Davey have constantly tried to get Det to mix in a few more breaking balls, it's probably irrelevant at this point.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Swami, Espy may get Wally Pipped.Back to the Tigers/Mariners game, there really were 40 K's between the two teams in a 14 inning 2-1 Tigers win. 21 by Detroit batters, 19 by Seattle's.Each starting pitcher had 12 K's. That has to be a modern day, if not all-time, record in a MLB game.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Actually, I just looked it up. It tied the record for second most all-time. The record was 43 K's in a 20 inning game in 1971.

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Joe S, the second game with 40Ks was in how many innings? thanks.

  12. Unknown - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I've always liked National Det, his NLDS G4 performance will be one of my all-time baseball memories.Also, how can you not love Harper? His quotes are great, his play on the field stellar, even with the flu!

  13. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Reading about Harper and Span's flu reminds me that we fans don't know everything that goes on in the clubhouse. Guys get sick, guys worry about family, etc. I really like the Suzuki quote about Wilson. Zoook is not a "No. 2" catcher in my book–we have two Number Ones.

  14. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Comments from the Fillies games. I didn't know about Lannan's knee. both Domonic Brown and John Lannan suffered injuries and will be examined Thursday morning by a team doctor. Brown injured his back when diving for a ball in the first inning. Lannan tweaked his left knee in his last start , and the pain resurfaced while facing his first batter Wednesday .Both players downplayed the ailments, although the true extent is unknown. Brown said he felt a "pop." He will require an MRI. Lannan said he experienced this pain before while with Washington, and it did not cost him a start."I tried everything to get the ball down," Lannan said. "I couldn't really drive the ball down in the zone."http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20130418_Phillies_suffer_second_loss_of_day_to_Reds.html

  15. Joe Seamhead - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Faraz, 6/19/01 Giants- Padres 20 k's each in 15 innings7/9/71 Angels [26] -A's [17] 43 total in 17 inningsBy all accounts, other then the batters futility, last night's game was an incredibly well played game by both teams.A very exciting play at the plate to end the game.

  16. Gonat - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    “Well, you know it’s pretty good when I let a pitcher hit with a man on third base late in the ballgame,” joked manager Davey Johnson, who allowed Detwiler to throw a career-high 107 pitches. “He pitched a heck of a ballgame.”_____________________________Joke all you want Davey, tonight it didn't burn you because the runner scored eventually, but if things didn't go right…….

  17. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    thanks Joe S.saw the last play. no way smoak would have scored. he is too slow.

  18. Lipty P - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    It appears Det IS a sinker ball pitcher. Most sinker ball pitchers only throw fastballs….not surprising at all when you consider the historically good sinker pitchers.

  19. baseballswami - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    When you watch the game, it does not seem like all the pitches are the same. You can see how the batters are fooled. Saying that he throws all one kind of pitch does not really reflect what he is doing. 95 coming downhill from a 6 foot 5 pitcher can't be all that comfortable. And it's not straight. Det and JZ also both work with a good rhythm. Hope all the sick and dinged up guys rest today. In New York. Hard place to rest.

  20. DL in VA - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Joke all you want Davey, tonight it didn't burn you because the runner scored eventually, but if things didn't go right…. —Don't forget though that davey was working with a short bench that day. Burning a pinch hitter would have come at a cost.

  21. Section 222 - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    I'm not going to say that Lannan's outing yesterday ought to quiet all the folks here who are convinced he could do as well or better than Haren because it's just one start. But of course, the same applies to Haren. Give it time.

  22. Steamer - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I just have to say Det looks AWESOME!

  23. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Mariano Rivera has only 1 pitch, and he's done pretty well. Detwiler throws both a 2-seamer (91 – 92 on the gun) that breaks down and in to a righty, and a 4-seamer (94 – 96) that breaks away. His so-called change-up clocks in at 88. Any hitter with mental functionality above drooling dementia will not be fooled by Det's change up. His curve ball is more like a gradual arc and does not have the drop-off-the-table snap that Stammen's has. Suzuki and Detwiler know what they are doing. Why mess with a good thing? The 2-seamer and 4-seamer are working. Just look at the hitters. They are baffled by how the game is called by Suzuki and pitched by Det.If Detwiler had Strassburg's change, or Stammen's curve ball, he would use them. Since he has been pitching better than either of those guys, there's no need to change his approach.

  24. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    "Also, how can you not love Harper? "Harper had been hitting with his shoulders open when he went on that 0 for 13 slump. Last night he closed up his stance and went 4 for 5. One hit poked through the left side, one up the middle, and one scorched into the RF corner, plus an IF squib that he beat out, flu and all. It only took him one day to figure out the problem and correct it.Bryce Harper is only 20 years old.

  25. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    How about Lombo?Give him 3 starts and he produces 3 multi-hit games, and goes 5 for 6 with runners in scoring position over the 3-game set. When was the last time Espinoza produced like that?

  26. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Wonk — along with his increased command, Det's unflappability in the face of errors and bad calls has been his biggest area of improvement since 2011.Add one more: his endurance, too."A well-located fastball is still the hardest pitch to hit in the big leagues," teammate Ryan Zimmerman said. "I think some people forget that sometimes."That sort goes to the old saying that pitching has three components: speed, location, and movement, and you only need two of those three to pitch well. It seems, though, that Det had all three going, last night.

  27. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Question: with Harper needing IV before the game, and vomiting in the 2d innings — how in the world did Davey let him start? How in the world did Davey know that Harper would be an asset rather than a liability?

  28. A DC Wonk - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    BTW, another overlooked factor last night:Clip and Soriano both pitched the way that we'd been expecting them to pitch. They both had impressive innings. If they keep doing that, we'll be in _great_ shape!

  29. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Could rain tomorrow night. They've had like 5 inches so far in Chicago. Take a look at this picture. (I think another car fell in).sink holehttp://blog.chicagoweathercenter.com/Here is NY.Tomorrow77 | 50 °FChance of T-storms70% chance of precipitation

  30. MicheleS - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Wonk, excellent point about Clipp and Mr Untucked. Clipp looked more like the guy we saw in spring training. I wonder if the hair cut was a factor :-).Harper puking in the 2nd inning is just crazy! i kind of wish he had done it on Loria.

  31. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Wonk–your kid never pestered you into letting her do something ill-advised that eventually worked out ok?

  32. Eric - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    So, on a side note, how close is Suzuki to activating his vesting option? According to this site, it activates if he starts 120 times this season or plays in 113 games (I guess starting from when he signed last season)? How many games has he played so far?Also, if the vesting option activates, does that mean he will definitively be with us in 2014, or does it just mean it's an option?So far I want this dude on our team until he retires!

  33. Dryw Loves the Nats - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Wonk, Davey thought about putting Bryce in late on Tuesday, looked at him, and changed his mind. So obviously there was something different last night. Also, if Bryce had gone out there and been a liability, Davey could've pulled him.Plus the fact that 75% of Bryce is still pretty darn impressive. Heck, I'd take 50% of Bryce over some of the guys who've started for the Nats over the years….

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Eric, you have it backwards, its 113 starts or plays in 120 games for Suzuki.His total comp for next year is between $8.5 and $9.25 million. I just don't see it but I do think Rizzo will attempt to renegotiate a 2 year deal at a "market" value.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    MLB Network has devoted 2 segments to Ryan Zimmerman's head/arm throwing issues.Earlier in the evening it was Tom Verducci (who did he play for?) and Billy Ripken threw in his 2 cents.Last night it was Harold Reynolds who is advocating Zim throw everything sidearm and just stop trying to throw over the top.

  36. NatsLady - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Ghost, it's that or The Shutdown. Pick your poison. If the Nats were in last place, no one would care.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    NEW POST

  38. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Laddie, Rivera is a reliever. Huge difference. Brandon Webb would have been a better comparison since he was a sinkerballer mainly, wasn't he? He was sort of like one pitch guy.Wonk, loved the innings from Clip and Soriano but naysayers would point out the opponent. Just saying!

  39. Eric - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Thanks, Ghost.Are you saying you don't see him reaching either threshold?

  40. Muddy - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Ditto what baseballswami said re the Espi-Lombo "competition" — assuming the Nats think of Lombo as competition Espi at 2nd base and not "utility". Could Espi be "utility guy"? I think not. Espi seems to have a rather large ego that screams 2nd base or, even better, SS, if it weren't taken. I'm not sayin' largeness of ego is necessarily a bad thing at this level, but I see Espi suffering a large dent in the pysche if he were labeled "utility". Apparently Lombo can cope with it. Davey has told Lombo more than once that he's not "utility"; he's full time. Right. I gotta confess I love watchin' Lombo's game for the reasons swami gave: baseball IQ and mental consistency; and there's a natural grace and fluidity to it. I like Espi, too. Great defender. Ferocious swing — and when he connects, he drives the ball impressively. But so far he hasn't connected often enough — not since the 2nd half of 2012 anyway. The Nats apparentlyl are hoping Espi improves his hitting on the job, like Desi did. They'll use Lombo as "Mr. Utility" in the meantime, but that doesn't seem fair to Lombo.

  41. Steady Eddie - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    NL — Of course, this timing is never that accurate in practice, but Queens forecast tomorrow night is for 30% chance of isolated t-storms until 10 pm where it becomes 60%, then 80% by 11 pm. So depends how quickly the front comes through and how efficiently pitched it is. Both of those hurlers at their best, we could have a 5-hitter net of both sides over by 9:15. Or an extra innings mess that gets finished Saturday night.

  42. JamesFan - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    If the Nats sit Lombo after this week, they are not the tough-minded baseball people we think they are. Lombo is the second baseman of the future; Espi is some other team's shortstop and .220 hitter.If Lombo is replaced, it should only be because he slumps or falls back from his typical performance. What he provides is solid defense and close to .300 at the plate.

  43. John C. - Apr 18, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I love me some Lombardozzi, but thus far he hasn't beat out Espinosa. Everyone prattles about how lousy Espinosa was last year, but the fact remains that he was better, both defensively and offensively, than Lombardozzi. Defensively Espinosa has more range and a better arm – he is truly a SS playing 2b (which is a good thing). The kicker is offense. Yes, Lombardozzi had a higher batting average, .273 to .247. But they got on base at about the same pace (Lombo .317, Espinosa .315). And because Lombardozzi had so little power, Espinosa's OPS (.717) was significantly better than Lombardozzi's (.671). That power has value. And the value is enhanced by the fact that Espinosa (20/6 SB/CS) is a better base runner than Lombardozzi (5/3). So long term, Espinosa has shown that he is better defensively, offensively and on the basepaths than Lombardozzi. Anyone who wants to ignore that based on two weeks of baseball is a fool that doesn't understand the concept of small sample sizes (right now, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson in Atlanta are Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig; that won't last either). Lombardozzi still isn't drawing walks, and so his OBP relies heavily on his batting average – which in turn relies heavily on an unsustainable .381 batting average on balls in play. When that regresses, so will Lombardozzi.Now, is it possible that Lombardozzi eventually takes the job away from Espinosa? Sure. If Lombardozzi develops more patience and power at the plate and Espinosa can't right the ship, a change will happen. But that time is not yet, and likely wouldn't occur for another month or longer.

  44. Pilchard - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Yes, Espinosa has more power and is a slightly better defensive player, but the differences between the two are not so pronounced that Lombo should only play when Espinosa is hurt. Too often Espinosa goes into funks when he gets himself out, yet Davey keeps Espinosa in day after day. Would think that Davey could work matchups a little more, and give Lombardozzi more PT. BTW, Lombardozzi power numbers will rise with time. He is only 24.

  45. JamesFan - Apr 18, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    I say again, the idea that the 2d baseman must be a slugger is nuts. I'll take a .290, hight on-base guy over a 17 homer, .220, 200 strike out guy with roughly equal defense every time.

  46. David Proctor - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    James, I agree. BUT, Lombo isn't a high OBP guy. He and Espinosa both get on base the same. If you assume the defense is equal (and it's not, Espinosa's range is far better), then the only difference is power and baserunning. Espinosa blows Lombardozzi out of the water on both of those.

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NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
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