26-year-old, '07 1st Round pick Ross Detwiler's first start of the year against the New York Mets, which saw him allow just two hits and a walk while striking out six in 5.0 IP on the road in Citi Field, started the Washington Nationals' current five-game win-streak, and the left-hander has an opportunity to extend the streak this afternoon when he makes his second start of the 2012 campaign against Cincinnati in the finale of the four-game, home-schedule-opening series with the Reds. After his start in NY, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson praised Detwiler, who Johnson's championed since last season, saying, "a little bit of everything" worked for the lefty against the Nationals' NL East rivals.
"He had a good curveball," Johnson said, "He spotted his fastball well, he was hitting his spots, just an outstanding effort. He made it look easy." The manager was impressed with Detwiler's resilience in an outing which saw the lefty allow back-to-back hits to start the game before settling in and retiring 15 of the next 16 batters before he was lifted for reliever Craig Stammen at the start of the sixth. "It was outstanding," Detwiler's manager said. It was Detwiler's strong Grapefruit League performance (14 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 17 K's in 17.2 IP) which eventually earned the former first round pick the fifth spot in the rotation and Johnson said it was more of the same in his first start of the season. "That's the way he was in the Spring. He was really dominating in the Spring. Last time out I think he went 65 pitches in 5.0 innings, that was more of the same."
After Detwiler's 5.0 scoreless, Stephen Strasburg threw 6.0 scoreless against the Mets, Gio Gonzalez threw 7.0 scoreless against Cincinnati, Jordan Zimmermann went 7.0 against the Reds giving up a run on three hits and then Edwin Jackson yesterday threw his complete game two-hitter to give the Nationals three straight at home and five overall in the win column. Now it's Detwiler's turn to keep things rolling for a starting staff that's competing amongst themselves as well as against opposing hitters. "There's no doubt about it," the Nats' manager said when asked if the starters were trying to outdo one another, "That's what happens on all good staffs. They all kind of... peer pressure, 'He threw a good one, I'm going to throw a better one,' that kind of deal."
It will be hard to top Edwin Jackson's complete game two-hitter, but Ross Detwiler surprised everyone when he earned the fifth spot in the rotation out of Spring Training and the fifth-year pro's got another opportunity today to prove the Nationals made the right decision.