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Ross Detwiler allowed one run on three hits in five innings.
The world, of course, isn't perfect, which is why Davey Johnson is so glad to have Ross Detwiler at his disposal.
"You look at the Phillies," the Nationals manager said. "They had the great rotation last year, and [Vance] Worley ends up winning 10 games coming from the pen. And [Kyle] Kendrick started a lot. Guys in the pen, they're invaluable, the spot starters."
Detwiler will serve in that capacity for the Nationals, at least to open the season with the five-man rotation already set: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, John Lannan. And if tonight's dry run was an indication of things to come, the Nationals should be in good hands.
Making a spot start in place of Strasburg -- who was bumped back to tomorrow to better line him up for Opening Day -- Detwiler held the Marlins' regular lineup to one run on three hits over five strong innings. He also threw 50 of his 69 pitches for strikes.
"You see why we like him," Johnson said. "He was totally under control, made great pitches. ... He threw the heck out of the ball. It was very impressive. Fun to watch."
Detwiler, who hadn't started a big-league game yet this spring, was all too aware of the situation he found himself in tonight and recalled the similar scenario that played out at Nationals Park two years ago when Strasburg was a late scratch with shoulder tightness and was replaced by long reliever Miguel Batista.
"You know, it was Strasburg's day to throw and people came out here to see him," he said. "Before the game, I was kind of thinking a little bit and I remembered when he went down and Miggy had to start for him. When they announced Miggy's name, everyone booed. I was like, 'Oh, man.' That was my thought when I was out there stretching. Nobody really booed that I heard, so it was a good day."
The crowd of 5,649 had no reason to boo Detwiler, who had a brief hiccup in the top of the third when he allowed three hits and walked Hanley Ramirez to load the bases. But he immediately buckled down and got cleanup hitter Giancarlo Stanton to pop-up to snuff out that rally.
"It didn't matter who it was against," Detwiler said. "The bases are loaded there. It was a tie game. It's definitely a jam I wanted to get myself out of."
The Nationals haven't told Detwiler what the plan is between now and Opening Day, but he won't be starting any more big-league games. He'll just have to start preparing himself for the uncertainty that comes with the territory for every club's designated long reliever.
"If we need a spot start," Johnson said, "he's the man."