ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 10: Starter Zach Duke #19 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 10, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks 4-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
SYRACUSE | Zach Duke is left handed.
Just think about it, how many left-handed people does anyone even know?
Duke tossed a complete game three-hitter for a 4-2 win on the front half of a doubleheader as the Syracuse Chiefs split with the Durham Bulls at Alliance Bank Stadium on Tuesday
A good performance by itself, but...
"I have never have seen that many," Duke said about the Durham Bulls lineup that sent up the first eight batters digging into the left hand batter's box.
The CG was his first, albeit shortened, complete game since his All-Star year in 2009 in Pittsburgh for Duke. He finished it off with a mix of fastballs and sliders as he struck out five and walked one. He is 3-1 in six starts this season with a 3.86 ERA and a 24/10 K/BB ratio after being signed by Washington late this spring.
"With it the first game of a double header we want to keep relievers out of there so I was just glad I was able to do it," Duke, a seven-year MLB vet, said cooly.
There could be a growing gluttony of starting pitching for Washington.
The current Nats rotation is averaging a 2.19 ERA, a fastball in the mid-90s, and 30 strikeouts per man.
Chien Ming Wang is in Syracuse to make a rehab start on Wednesday looking to move back up to the majors.
Fellow lefty John Lannan is having an up-and-down, and well-documented, time in Syracuse after his own personal fireworks.
Duke, who has 168 MLB starts, is giving the big club a resurging arm to work with. He remembers playing with many of the current Bucs that went against the parent Nationals on Tuesday, but he is trying to get back to The Show himself.
"It looks like it is going to be tough to crack the rotation in Washington," Duke said as he started to smile. "I feel like I am hitting a good groove though. It is a matter of just keeping it going."
"John and I have been through a lot in our careers and we hope to share our experiences so other guys don't have to go through some of the things that we did," Duke said about the start of the season in Triple-A. "You get to act like you know what you are talking about."
Seems like Duke does so far.