Sunday, May 20, 2012

Detwiler's "awful" start plagues Nats

US Presswire photo
Ross Detwiler was roughed up for six runs in five innings.
Ross Detwiler could have tried to over-analyze his outing Saturday night, tried to figure out whether it was a mechanical glitch or poor pitch selection or just plain old poor execution that caused him to put the Nationals in big hole and ultimately set the stage for a 6-5 loss to the Orioles.

In the end, though, the process was less significant to the left-hander than the end result.

"I mean, give up six in five innings?" Detwiler said. "That's awful."

"Awful" might be a bit too strong of a description. But for a Nationals rotation that hadn't put forth an outing like this in quite some time, it certainly didn't measure up to the usual standard.

In fact, no Nationals starter had surrendered six earned runs since Livan Hernandez did it against the Mets on Sept. 4, 2011, a span of 63 games. And this one perhaps stung a little more because Detwiler's teammates managed to rally from the 6-0 deficit he created and nearly came all the way back before a raucous crowd of 42,331 (second-largest in ballpark history).

"I feel terrible about it," Detwiler said. "Because our team was out there, the hitters were ready to hit. They put up five runs on that pitching staff. ... We need to win when we do that."

The Nationals still nearly did win. Despite putting only two men on base through their first four innings against Orioles starter Jason Hammel, manager Davey Johnson's reconfigured lineup finally began producing after it trailed by six.

With RBI from Steve Lombardozzi (filling in for a benched Danny Espinosa), Rick Ankiel, Carlos Maldonado and Roger Bernadina, the Nationals trimmed the lead to 6-4 in the sixth. They nearly added to it in the eighth, stranding a man on third when both Bernadina and Espinosa hit the ball hard ... but right at Baltimore outfielders. Then they did draw within one in the ninth when Ryan Zimmerman belted a Jim Johnson pitch to left for his first homer since April 19.

"It can't always happen in a game where you jump out to a lead and cruise home," said Zimmerman, who went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .250. "This team handles adversity well, and we battle to the last out. We did that again tonight, and that's all you can ask for."

Well, you could've asked for the game-tying run, though that would've required a clutch hit from Adam LaRoche, who has been the Nationals' best run-producer all season but has fallen into a funk since the Orioles showed up in the District.

After striking out on a 3-2 sinker from Johnson to end the game, LaRoche finds himself 0-for-9 with four strikeouts (and a walk) in this series.

"I'm actually seeing it alright; I'm just going outside the zone," the first baseman said. "I had a couple chances to take some walks ... and I haven't done it. I've been chasing it. I need to get back in and pull the ball back in a little closer and be a little more selective."

Late rally or not, this game was decided in the first five innings, when Hammel (5-1) cruised and Detwiler (3-3) labored. Detwiler found himself in trouble nearly from the moment he stepped to the mound, and in doing so continued a disturbing trend.

Owner of a 2.10 ERA only six days ago, he's now allowed 10 earned runs and 16 hits over his last 10 innings. As a result, that ERA now stands at 3.65.

"I mean, I know I can do it," he said. "I know I'm here for a reason in this role. It's like, you just kind of have to take it for what it is and go after the next one."

Is there a chance Detwiler won't get many more starts to right his ship? Perhaps.

Chien-Ming Wang started for Class AAA Syracuse on Saturday, his fifth rehab start while recovering from a strained hamstring. The veteran right-hander is scheduled to appear in one more minor-league game before coming off the disabled list, at which point the Nationals have to make a tough decision.

Before Saturday's game, Johnson dropped a bit of a surprise, saying Wang likely will go to the bullpen once he joins the big-league roster. It wouldn't be the ideal move, because Wang does not profile well as a reliever. But it would keep the talented Detwiler in the rotation.

Given the manner in which Detwiler has struggled his last two times out, though, few would be shocked if Johnson has a change of heart.

"Everybody says it's a good problem to have, but probably not for the questions I'm going to get asked in this room," the manager said. "Because there's no easy choice."

Another start like this from Detwiler, and Johnson might have no choice but to make the change.

67 comments:

Grandstander said...

Is the pressure of Wang's return affecting Detwiler's ability to pitch?

I mean, if you go out there and say, the problem with the hitting is guys worried they'll be benched after a string of bad ABs, then don't you also concede a pitcher who has been cruising and is out of nowhere in danger of losing his starting job will start to shake, especially given his lack of success previously?

Or does Detwiler just suck and we haven't noticed it til now?

peric said...

Detwiler didn't exactly wowed anyone in the past. But he always had #1 starter stuff coming from the left side. Hard to give up on that!

Once Davey took over he became a changed pitcher. Suddenly, he looked ready to give Stras, JZimm a run for their money. With EJax latest start the two worse starters right now look to be Det and JZimmnn. Neither have been particularly sharp of late ... both have the least experience excepting the phenom Stras ... but he's a phenom ...

And Wang can't seem to out pitch Yunesky Maya in Syracuse? That says a lot; but he is 2 and 0. Wang got knocked out after 5 and 2/3 allowing 7 hits walking 3, and a home run but striking out six while allowing 4 earned runs.

Does he look better than Detwiler right now? Definitely NOT, that's a negatory ... and he's right handed and Detwiler is left-handed going into road contests against the NL East. I'll take my chances with Detwiler and have Wang ready to come in if any one in the rotation gets into trouble.

A Home of Consumer Researcher said...

Wang produced 8GO and 1FO today. Were it not for the five stolen bases allowed by the catcher and a hidden error by the shortstop, these ground outs would have generated more double plays. I think Wang had a solid performance tonight- just like the way he was pitching for New York back to 2005 2006 and 2007. Lots of ground balls, lots of hits, but still keep the team in the ball game to win. With Wang's pitching this year, our minor league teams went 5-0, and Wang collected 3-0. How about that?

Unknown said...

Wang is a proven player before, and he is a veteran as well. MLB season is very long, everything need to be confirmed with long period, I totally agree with that Detwiler is good so far, but please never forgot, he has never play SP role for Nats a complete season, by the way, he was a long-reliever role in the past. Past two game, I can see some tired form him, perhaps he could improve his problem next game, or maybe he is not used to be a stater role right now. For Wang, to start a game in minor just for the rehab-assignment, how does he deal with the situation is more improtant than the result(win or not), so I don't think he is worst than Detwiler.

ehay2k said...

Guys with great stuff are not always cut out to be starters. Look at Stammen - he is great in relief but never figured it out as a starter. (And given he recent outings, he might yet make it as a starter.) That might be the same for Detwiler. I have always felt his slight build might hold him back, because he he gets hit late. Tonight, he just got off to an unfortunately fast start in that respect.

I have to believe that Davey's mind is not completely made up, and Detwiler's next outing will determine his fate this year. Going to the bullpen is hardly a death sentence. Just ask Lannan.

NatsLady said...

peric, not with youo on this one. I gave up long ago on Detwiler, who wouldn't even have the No. 5 starting role if CMW hadn't gotten injured. Det got a chance because Rizzo and Davey--correctly--sent Lannan down. Fine. But Det showed he is what he's always been, a flash in the pan.

Yes, he's a "hard-throwing lefty." Let him grow on someone else's tree. I'll take CMW and Lannan for emergencies and find a hitter, thankyouverymuch.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Peric only researches to support his stance or ridicule others, never to obtain well rounded opinions.

But I agree that Det has a couple more starts before a switch, if necessary.

And Wang certainly is not WORSE than Det.

MicheleS said...

Wendell/1A/Dave others.. On baseball etiquette, In Section 134 they were enforcing the no going down the aisles during at bats. Which was nice. The problem I had was the people randomly standing up when a vendor came by. Just standing there blocking the view while the vendor fished out whatever they were buying.

ExposedinDC said...

Emotion needs to be taken out of the equation, if Det had thrown a 3 hit shutout, posters would not be calling for Wang, the rotation for most teams is a work in progress, I have confidence that rizzo and Davey will make the right decision.

MicheleS said...

I did like the lineup last night. I think that one may be a keeper. Bryce didn't look good at all during his ABs.. he might need a day off along with ALR. Oh.. and I think I am done with the Bernie experiment as well. He had some good ABs, but we need some consistent hitting out of LF. If davey wants Espi in, then he should put Lombo in LF.

NatsJack.. saw what you were saying about RZ last night. He is definitely starting to come around.

Det.. ugh.. well, CMW appears to be ready and I hope Davey knows when to make the switch.

Anyone missing Werth right now? I know I am .. Lord, i hope he heals fast. He has about 4 weeks before he can start rehab. I can't wait for him to be back in the linuep.

And Michael Morse! Please come back soon!

Faraz Shaikh said...

I think after seeing yesterday's start, they might be right to put RD in bullpen instead of Wang. You know Wang has never had much of relief experience. RD can handle himself as a reliever. Besides we need to send Perry down (despite what he did yesterday, his ERA still sits in 10's).

From yesterday's game, if I had to send down or cut someone, it would be Bernadina. This might be harsh judgement but when you have been playing OF for as long as Bernadina, you need to take better routes to balls in play. The triple was not a triple in first inning. Avery's double also was misplayed. Both times he tried to take log route, when he should have taken exponential route to the ball. Morse is not a genius in that respect either, but at least his bat can cover some of his defensive faults. I can't wait for him to return.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Are we the only ML team so far to use five starters only in the season?

Faraz Shaikh said...

we are not. Miami for one has used only 5 starters among others.

Faraz Shaikh said...

question for insiders: do you guys use metro to get to park or drive?

Wendell said...

I sometimes drive & sometimes Metro. If I drive I park in the cement factory private lot across from the ballpark of Potomac near the bridge. Metro requires a more sophisticated strategy depending on the state of track work. I have also driven to the Anacostia metro stop, parked in the garage (free on weekends) and taken the train against traffic to the ballpark.

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
NatsJack, care to discuss Detwiler with me again? Another short outing clunker on 5 day start.

May 19, 2012 11:38 PM
__________________________

This will be interesting to see if Davey changes his mind now on Wang. Det hasn't lasted any further than 6 1/3 innings as his longest outing of the season.

Also, that controversial error in the Reds game before he gave up the Grand Slam to Ludwick gave his ERA a look of one of the best pitchers in the Majors. The last few starts have had fits of frustration although Detwiler is throwing the pitches so while his numbers were properly scored per rules of errors, he has not worked out of jams well.

The pitch that killed him yesterday was the lefty HR by Markakis. If he leaves 4-0, its a lackluster start instead of his self-described "awful" start.

People who buy off on early season success thinking it will continue and base it on what they saw the previous September are sometimes disappointed.

This is the Detwiler I have known and not liked. The worst part may be that he is averaging only 5.54 innings per game this year. That will kill your bullpen.

Gonat said...

Not a great time for LaRoche and Bryce to come up empty.

Steady Eddie said...

FS - I take Metro during the week but drive on weekends because all the track work makes things very slow -- check the stretches of line you have to travel thru first. But also know they boost the parking charges for some series like this one. So it's $ vs time.

Exposed -- it's the opposite of emotions, it's accountability for current performance verified against past performance, exactly what Unknown and NatsLady did.

Gonat said...

By the way, the unstoppable Josh Hamilton grounded into a game ending DP to 1st base, and it was against the Astros. It happens.

Gonat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I look at Det/CMW as one pitcher. Neither is going to go more than five innings (at best) as a starter. No matter which one starts (and I'm presuming it's going to be CMW), get Det up in the fifth or sixth as relief. It's not perfect but it's better than most clubs' No. 5 starter, which tends to be mostly dreck anyway.

Gonat said...

I'm sure it was mentioned, great clutch Pinch-hit by Tyler Moore. How close was Chad Tracy to tying the game. The Goon Squad coming through again.

MicheleS said...

FS.. definitely depends on the state of the Metro as to how I get to the park. I come in on the orange line and there is always track work going on, so weekends I always have to drive in.

Some have recommended parking lot HH ($5) lot that is by S Capital and 395. You have to walk a little ways to the park, but the neighborhood is okay and no fears to do that.

natsfan1a said...

Was walking to the Yards park after Tuesday's game and noticed a lot with a sign saying that there was a flat fee of $5 on weekends. Didn't pay attention to details, as we always take the Metro (from Virginia). We tend to attend mostly weekend games, fwiw.

Interesting point by Sunshine re. how deep either CMW or Det pitches into a given game. As posted elsewhere, was disappointed to lose the series, particularly to the AngelO's. Really hope they can salvage a win today, particularly since I'll be there today. :-)

natsfan1a said...

Blue/Yellow for us, fwiw.

Steady Eddie said...

And Gonat, and Ghost, and MicheleS.... Looks like the returns are starting to pile up on this from people who've observed Det a long time.

It's really unfortunate because Det for a while was looking like he might have better command. But this seems more like a picture we've seen before, especially the getting-ticked-off-at-a-bad-call-and-losing-it, including on days when he even has it to begin with (I.e., not yesterday).

Plus as Gonat (and others) said, Det has NEVER shown endurance in a game, which is a recipe for a long reliever. Better to bring up Rosenbaum when they shut down Stras in early September.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a, how is that accurate on Det's starts? He averages 5.54 innings and when Detwiler is on, he can obviously go further. Wang averaged 5.66 innings last year and his longest outing was 6 2/3.

Its a tough call what to do. Detwiler is a LH pitcher but isn't going deep into games. Wang is RH and we don't know what he will do.

natsfan1a said...

Gonat, I believe that question should be directed to Sunshine, who made the original point, which I said was interesting.

Gonat said...

Steady Eddie, he doesn't get much talk here so glad you mentioned it, but RosenBOMB may well be our teams better version of Tommy Milone. Who would have thunk?

Gonat said...

The Marlins don't screw around. They sent Gaby Sanchez to AAA. He was batting .197 (sound familiar). This guy was an ALL STAR last year and Rookie of the Year candidate the year before.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Detwiler has stuff but his fastball is only 1 to 2 mph faster than Lannan. Lannan stays low in the zone and Detwiler plays over middle of the plate. Detwiler couldn't come in again yesterday on his 2 weaned and the Orioles peppered the hole between SS and 3rd.

When he missed to the power hitters, they both hit homers.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ghost.....I'm certainly not convinced Det is destined to be a solid contributor as a starter but I'm not ready for the switch just yet.

I feel like his major problem is focus, determination and understanding just how much mentally tougher one has to be to be successful at this level.

I don't know of he'll get there but he should get a couple more shots to perform.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Congrats to the Marlins. I'm sure they want a refund o Jose Reyes and Ozzie too.

whatsanattau said...

Dear Davey, start Wang and move Detwiler to the pen. Start Lombo for at least a week. If Desi swings at the first pitch with 2 out and 2 on when the previous runner walked kindly shoot him in the left arm - just a flesh wound.

Oh, and please - every Thursday - bunting class for everyone. Said class should include when to use and not use. You might want to be there for that part.

Love, w

fast eddie said...

So, after our hitters were stymied by the likes of McDonald, Arrieta and Hammel (not Cole!), can we finally break through against Chen today?
Who ARE these guys?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, this may surprise you, I say stick with Det for another start.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ghost.....I'm certainly not convinced Det is destined to be a solid contributor as a starter but I'm not ready for the switch just yet.

I feel like his major problem is focus, determination and understanding just how much mentally tougher one has to be to be successful at this level.

I don't know of he'll get there but he should get a couple more shots to perform.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack, I'm traveling on Monday so on Tuesday I will try to formulate my full observations on him. I like what you said and he needs one more start to see if he can get his head back in it.

What's the rush to bring Wang back so quickly?

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
NatsJack, I'm traveling on Monday so on Tuesday I will try to formulate my full observations on him. I like what you said and he needs one more start to see if he can get his head back in it.

What's the rush to bring Wang back so quickly?

May 20, 2012 9:32 AM
____________________________

Surprised you would give him another shot. Is it because your choices are between him and Wang and Detwiler has more potential?

NatsJack in Florida said...

They probably want to get Wang on the mound sooner than later in hopes of determining his value whether as a member of the staff or for trade considerations.

Ann Ominous said...

What's the rush to bring Wang back so quickly?

He can only spend a max of 30 days on a minor league rehab assignment. That timeframe is up in the next week or so. He is out of options and cannot be sent down - as is Detwiler. Thus, if they don't put him on the 25 man roster when he comes off rehab, they would have to DFA him.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, that's exactly what I am thinking. Wang is on a 1 year deal. When Rizzo went with Detwiler over Lannan it was a statement. Why change after 2 lackluster starts?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Ann, Wang can stay as a starter a little longer in AAA and at least enough time to get Det one more start.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

"Detwiler has pitched himself into a role as one of the main guys, not only this year but for the future here." Davey Johnson, May 19.

"John's my guy." Davey Johnson, March 26, on John LannEn, demoted the following week.

You make the call.

fast eddie said...

Off topic, but Davey/MZ have some impending decisions to make. Who leaves when deRosa and Morse return next week?
Moore? Nady? Bernie? The Arm to the Goon Squad as late-inning defensive replacement and occasional pinch-hitter?

Gonat said...

SBC, the Lannan was Rizzo's override. It happens. Yesterday's comments on Detwiler was the right call for now. Detwiler gets 1 more shot at it and that should determine his fate.

Gonat said...

fast eddie, has to be Moore then Nady. Bernadina just has more tools coming off of the bench. Thats my opinion which doesn't matter. Davey likes Bernadina, Rizzo doesn't so who knows.

Another_Sam said...

Det. wang. Just another latest saviour theory, IMHO. I liked the lineup last night. In my view the pitching is more or less going to resolve itself [I guess I mean that DJ or the front office or the sainted advisors here will keep things righted.] I'm still waiting for the hitting. I want someone to tell all these hitters that they alone don't have to carry the load. Damn, I'd like to see some hits strung together when it counts -- with RISP, especially.

That's about as close to a rant as I'll get. Thanks.

Another_Sam said...

One more thing -- LOL. Even with last night's pitching -- which was good enough IMHO -- they'd still have come out okay with a couple of line drive hits when it counted.

Drew said...

As someone who has called out Peric on occasion I've gotta say that NatsJack's 7:30 a.m. post strikes me as unfair.

Peric hasn't ridiculed any one of late, and we all do research to buttress our opinions. There's nothing wrong with that.

For instance, I think CMW has value, but his value is greatly distorted because his Yankees' teams scored so many runs. That's why he's won about 30 more games than he's lost.

Even after last night's ragged performance Ross has a 3.99 career ERA to CMW's 4.14.

NatsLady said...

Sending Lannan down was not a "statement" about either pitcher. They had no choice because Lannan had an option and Detwiler didn't. The statement was made last summer and this winter when Det wasn't traded: Once more change, bud.

Yes, I would say give him another start in the rotation and hold CMW in the BP in case of someone getting shelled, rain delay, rainout/doubleheader, or injury. But that's not a tenable situation long-term. Sorry if that seems like "auditioning" players, but this is not Detwiler's "sophomore slump," and he doesn't appear to be injured. So exactly what is his excuse?

Another observation: Ankiel should give classes on how to slide into 2B. That's the second time (that I know of) he's done that arm around thing and been --correctly-- called safe.

I take Metro if I have time, and sometimes take the bus home, even though it means transferring at Union Station. The crowds in Metro are suffocating even though I go around to the other entrance and wait a while, the crowds are still there at L'Enfant Plaza....Am still looking for that HH lot which would save me $10 (I park in a $15 gravel lot and the good thing is it's a straight line to the 395 ramp).

NatsLady said...

That should be ..."One more chance, bud..."

NatsLady said...

Another Sam, often happens ("another saviour") but not by me in this case. Long time CMW fan/Detwiler doubter. You can check.

Steady Eddie said...

Another Sam -- Wang "just another savior theory"?

Please don't put words in other people's mouths. I don't see anyone here touting Wang as anything more (on this squad) than a #5 who seems to be pitching at a level that looks potentially somewhat more effective, overall, than Det seems to be. That's all.

natsfan1a said...

fwiw, I recently read about the DC Circulator bus, which I intend to try at some point.

Speaking of sliding, noticed on the Friday game broadcast that Nick the Stick still slides kinda like a beached whale. Before he made his out, I found myself chanting "Niiiiiiiiiick" at the tv set after his hit for old times' sake (my Chicago baseball always did that). Still love ya, Nick! :-)

natsfan1a said...

Chicago baseball "buddy" that would be

hiramhover said...

I'm surprised this needs repeating, but the mid 2000s really was a different era, and so directly comparing pitching stats is a tricky thing.

Wang's ERA with the Yankees was 4.19, which placed him in the top 35% of pitchers for 2005-9. During those years, the league average era for starters was about 4.5.

Detwiler's ERA as a starter is 4.28 (Drew's #s were including his relief appearances), which is precisely the league average for starters over the years Detwiler has been in the majors.

NatsLady said...

1a, yes the Circulator is the bus I take. There are several places you can catch it.

JamesFan said...

To me, this is a no-brainer. Wang starts and Det goes to the pen. The Nats have a lot invested in Wang and he is a quality, experienced starter. Unless Wang proves he can't pitch effectively, the younger, less experienced and frankly more erratic Detwiler returns to the pen temporarily. Det is a long-term starter, but just not right now.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, NatsLady. Good to know that about the bus.

Heading out soon and hoping for a curly w today (hey, a fan can hope). :-)

NatsJack in Florida said...

If "of late" you mean since the last off day, you may be correct.

As for Detwiler, my position has always been that there just hasn't been much consistency in his developement due to injury and a poorly planned organizational approach.

Some of it's his fault but most of it falls on the organization. It'easy to see how overall inconsistency can seep into his efforts. It's the primary reason I continue to point out his mental toughness issues.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Jamesfan....that was not intended to be a replay to your post. But the Detwiler tie works. I was responding to Drew.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Reply.

zregime said...

OK y'all...let me be the one to beat the drum for Steve Lombardozzi. The guy just gets it done...like his Dad did. We need baserunners! Ryan is starting to come around and Morse is hopefully back soon, which will take pressure off of Bryce and Adam. This could be a dang fine offensive club in a month or so...

The wife and I were at Friday night's game and the Metro was a complete disaster afterwards. Another shining example of Big Government Incompetence. We considered a cab back to Shady Grove but wound up having a late nosh at Legal Seafood. Didn't put head to pillow until 1:40 AM. Nats management needs to put some pressure on the DC pols to fix this! Very bad experience as an "end user" and right now actually dreading our next game on 7/4 against the Giants. People are not gonna come out to the ballpark and support this team if they get treated like cattle on the commute.

JaneB said...

zregime, that experience is why we drive. Plus we get to heard Charlie and Dave on the way home.

Drew said...

HiramHover: Good insights on comparing ERAs in different eras. NatsJack: Let's hope positive reinforcement influences Peric.

Faraz Shaikh said...

the reason I asked about travel plans is because I use green line and it is so crowded after game, not necessarily going to the game since everyone goes at different times. As far as I know lot of fans come from VA (using L'nfant Plaza to transfer) and MD (using Gallery Place to transfer). I think if Nats urged WMATA to run additional buses to these two stops, our commute would be much better after game.

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