• Davey Believes In Det: "I think he grew up a lot today," Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters when discussing Ross Detwiler's final start of 2011 against the Atlanta Braves last September. "I mean he got a little wild and didn't get overly aggressive and just stayed within himself and pitched out of a tough jam. No outs, bases loaded with awfully good hitters up there, so that was a great effort on his part." Detwiler threw six scoreless that day, escaping the bases-loaded no-out jam that Johnson referenced in the fourth and ending his year on a streak of 13.1 scoreless innings pitched over two starts against the Phillies and Braves. The Nats' skipper predicted then that Detwiler, a 26-year-old '07 1st Round pick, would compete for a role in the Nationals' 2012 rotation, which Detwiler eventually won late in Spring Training. Late-blooming prospects like Detwiler were nothing new for the Nats' 69-year-old skipper, however, who'd seen a lot in his fifteen (at that point) years on the bench.
"Shoot, I've seen [Ron] Darling, Sid Fernandez and [Rick] Aguilera," Johnson told reporters seeking an explanation for Detwiler's sudden success late last year. "Young pitchers with great promise can take longer. I know [Detwiler] had a number of starts last year, but what he's done this year, starting once, being in the bullpen and then getting back in the rotation, he's pitched against some good-hitting ballclubs and done okay. Held his head above water." Detwiler more than hold his head above water at the start of the 2012 campaign. In four starts and 22.0 IP in March/April, Detwiler had a 1.64 ERA, a 3.02 FIP, six walks and 19 K's. In four starts and 22.1 IP in May, however, Detwiler's ERA's up to 5.64, his FIP's risen to 3.74 and he's walked five and K'd 12. He took the mound tonight looking to rebound from two tough starts, and he had a big lead when he did...
• All W/ 2 Outs: Bryce Harper and Ryan ZImmerman had back-to-back one-out line drives off Braves' right-hander Tim Hudson in the top of the first, after Steve Lombardozzi had worked his way back from an 0-2 count and K'd on a high 3-2 fastball. Harper singled to center, then took third as Ryan Zimmerman doubled over ATL CF Michael Bourn's head and off Turner Field's center field wall. Adam LaRoche, who's mired in a 1 for 20 slump, took a called strike three on a two-seamer inside after working the count full. 1 for 21. Ian Desmond didn't wait til the count was full, the Nats' run-producing shortstop was first-pitch swinging as usual and he singled to center to bring in two. 2-0 Nationals early. Make that 4-0. Hudson hits Danny Espinosa to put two on with two out and Rick Ankiel hits a two-run triple off the right-center wall. All with two outs.
• AVG 25 Pitches Per?: Ross Detwiler took the mound with a four-run lead, but Braves' third baseman Martin Prado battled for 11 pitches before sending a one-out line drive double into the right-center gap that neither Rick Ankiel or Bryce Harper were able to get anywhere near. A 95 mph 3-2 fastball got Freddie Freeman swinging for out no.2 and after a two-out walk to Dan Uggla, a groundout to short by Matt Diaz ended a 28-pitch scoreless first for Detwiler. After a long first, Tim Hudson retired the Nats' 9-1-2 hitters on four pitches in the top of the second. Detwiler walked back-up backstop David Ross (who left the game with an injury) and gave up single by Jack Wilson with one out in Atlanta's second, but a sac bunt and fly to center ended a 22-pitch frame with Detwiler at 50 pitches after two.
• It's Pronounced DIE-AZ: Tim Hudson set the Nats down in order in the third, throwing a quick 11-pitch frame before Martin Prado completed half of the cycle with a triple to left-center on which Steve Lombardozzi and Rick Ankiel got in each other's way and tumbled over one another in front of the track. Detwiler struck Freddie Freeman out for the second time, with a fastball again and a 95 mph heater up high got Dan Uggla swinging for out no.2, but Matt Diaz ripped a two-out single through short to bring Prado in and make it 4-1 Nats in the third. A two-out walk to Jason Heyward had Detwiler up to 22 pitches in the inning and 72 pitches overall. A groundout to second by Brian McCann on the 27th pitch from Detwiler finally ended the inning with two Braves' stranded.
• Hudson Settles In: Rick Ankiel singled with one down in the fourth, but was thrown out by McCann. Jesus Flores singled in the next at bat, but it only served to clear the pitcher's spot as Tim Hudson completed a 14-pitch frame for his third scoreless inning after the long top of the first. Ross Detwiler needed just 12 pitches to retire the Braves in order in the bottom of the fourth, but he was up to 89 pitches overall. 16 pitches got Hudson through the top of the fifth, as he set down 12 of 14 batters after the Nats' big first. Detwiler gave up a leadoff double by Martin Prado (3 for 3, 2 2B, 3B) and a one-out walk to Dan Uggla on his 100th pitch of the night and Davey Johnson had seen enough. Johnson he went to the pen for Chien-Ming Wang. Braves' left fielder Matt Diaz welcomed Wang to the 2012 campaign by doubling to center to bring both of Det's runners in and make it 4-3, but an 8-6-5 relay caught Diaz at third. Two outs, and Wang gets a grounder to end the 5th with the Nats up by one...
• Hudson Rolling: 15 of 17 Nationals set down after their two-out rally in the first after Braves' RHP Tim Hudson throws a quick 11-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the sixth, after which it's still 4-3 Nationals and Hudson up to 89 pitches. Chien-Ming Wang got the first two-outs of the Braves' sixth on five pitches, but gave up a two-out single by Hudson before retiring Michael Bourn to end a nine-pitch frame. Wang walked with two down in the Nats' seventh, taking the first free pass from Hudson today. The Nats' right-hander jogged slowly to third on a two-out double by Steve Lombardozzi and Hudson put Bryce Harper on in front of Ryan Zimmerman, loading the bases with two down before giving up a two-out, three-run double to center. Zim's 8th double ends Hudson's night. 7-3 Nats.
• Mr. National: Former Nats' starter and current-Braves' reliever Livan Hernandez gave up a seven-pitch leadoff walk to the first member of his former team that he faced this season, Ian Desmond. Two pitches, a double play and foul pop to left late, Livan had a nine-pitch scoreless top of the eighth. Chien-Ming Wang got the first out of the Braves' eighth before he served up HR no.6 on the year by Jason Heyward, who took a 91 mph sinker for a ride to right. 7-4 Nationals. Sean Burnett replaced Wang on the mound, giving up a single by Brian McCann, but nothing else. 7-4 Nationals after eight. Braves' right-hander Christhian Martinez retired the Nationals in order in the ninth. With a three-run lead, Nats' skipper Davey Johnson brought Tyler Clippard on. A 1-2 change gets Michael Bourn swinging. ONE! Martin Prado flies to right. TWO!! Freddie Freeman swings through a 1-2 change for out no. 3. 1-2-3 the Nats win. 7-4 final.
• Miss The Game? The D.C. Faithful Were Watching...
• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: (-Doghouse-isms):
Nationals now 27-18.