WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: Ross Detwiler #48 of the Washington Nationals talks with Jesus Flores #26 during the game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
• Pregame Notes: Asked last night, after a 6.0-shutout-inning dominant performance against the Miami Marlins, how difficult 26-year-old left-hander Ross Detwiler was making it for the Washington Nationals to remove the '07 1st Round pick from the rotation once veteran right-hander Chien-Ming Wang returns from the DL, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson said, "I don't want to think about it. But, I like what I'm seeing. He's been outstanding." After his strong outing against the Fish, Detwiler's (2-0) on the year with a 0.56 ERA (the 2nd lowest in the league after three starts), 2.61 FIP, four walks (2.25 BB/9) and 15 K's (8.44 K/9).
"Det was superb," Davey Johnson told reporters last night, "I think he had another inning in him, but he had a kind of shortened Spring where he got in the rotation late and that was just his third outing against a good-hitting ballclub and I didn't want to push my luck. We had a fresh pen." The bullpen of Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard and closer Henry Rodriguez held on and made a 2-0 lead hold up.
"Good changeup," Johnson continued, talking about what worked for Detwiler last night, "Good location on his fastball, outstanding breaking ball, and he was getting strong as the game went on." Has Detwiler done enough to hold on to that 5th spot in the rotation? Chien-MIng Wang doesn't work out of the bullpen, with his surgically-repaired shoulder, so the Nationals have a tough decision ahead. Wang threw a 35-pitch simulated game earlier this week, and though previous reports had him likely to make a start for the Class-A Potomac Nationals on Monday, MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported on Twitter today, that the 32-year-old right-hander will, "... most likely will pitch in an extended Spring Training game on Monday."
Asked about the tough decision before Detwiler's start last night, Davey Johnson told reporters, including MASN's Dan Kolko, as quoted in an article entitled, "Wang throws successful simulated game; Lidge battling vertigo", that he's glad he won't be the one making the decision. "'That's going to be a (Mike) Rizzo problem,'" Johnson said.
• Stras vs Sanchez: Today's starter for the Nats, 23-year-old Stephen Strasburg, ended his comeback campaign last season, following Tommy John surgery in late 2010, with a six-hit, two-walk, 10 K, 6.0-shutout-inning outing against the team former known as the Florida Marlins. The two walks that game were the only ones Strasburg allowed after returning to the majors late last year. Strasburg will be facing the Marlins for the fifth time today, the most he faced any other major league team, but he'll also be matched up against Anibal Sanchez, who enters today's start, his 18th career against the Nationals, with a (7-0) record in 17 starts and 104.2 IP over which he's walked 46 (3.96 BB/9), K'd 87 (7.48 K/9) and posted a 2.06 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a .211 BAA.
Can Strasburg take the Nationals over the top and help them finally beat a pitcher who's undefeated against the franchise since he first faced them on July 6, 2006?