Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that he didn't know what Team USA Manager Joe Torre and Pitching Coach Greg Maddux had in mind for 26-year-old Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler, who's scheduled to throw today but not starting for the U.S. entry in the second round of the 3rd installment of the World Baseball Classic. Former New York Mets' and current Toronto Blue Jays' knuckler R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start in tonight's WBC Round 2 matchup with the Dominican Republic. Detwiler came on in relief of Ryan Vogelsong this past Saturday in the U.S. team's win over Italy, throwing four scoreless in which he allowed just one walk and one hit, while striking out three and throwing 51 pitches total, 36 of them strikes. No one told the Nats' skipper how Detwiler would be used, but he's well-rested and as Johnson said, "I'm sure that everybody will be available in that game, that's a big game for them."
MLB.com's Barry Bloom wrote Thursday morning that, "The Americans are going with Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner," who gave up six hits and four runs in 4.0 IP in his first WBC start last Friday against Mexico, and the U.S., "... will have Ross Detwiler in the wings."
"If Dickey's knuckleball is again flat," Mr. Bloom contined, "as it was against Mexico when he allowed an Adrian Gonzalez two-run homer and [allowed] the Mexicans to take an early 4-0 lead, Torre will certainly go quickly to the 'pen."
Dickey told reporters, including MLB.com's Mr. Bloom, that he wasn't worried about his knuckleball being flat. "'It's not unlike the regular season,'" the veteran right-hander said, "'when sometimes you struggle for an outing and you get it back for four or five days later.'" U.S. Pitching Coach Greg Maddux told reporters on Wednesday that he was confident Dickey would be fine in his second WBC outing:
"Well, I think you let Dickey go out there and do his thing. He's got a very unique pitch and he's had a lot of success with it, and you just kind of support him the best you can and hope he throws it correctly. The scouting reports are kind of out the window when he pitches. His knuckle is unpredictable and it does unpredictable things."
Though Davey Johnson didn't know exactly how Detwiler would be used, the Nats' 70-year-old skipper said he was given one bit of information about the plans for the other Nationals' lefty in the WBC. If the US Team makes it to the World Baseball Classic's third championship game, the nation's capital will get to watch Gio Gonzalez pitch again. "They tell me [Gonzalez] is probably scheduled to pitch the last game," Johnson said, if the U.S. makes it to the championship. No matter how things turn out, Johnson, who has a long history with Team USA baseball and the international game, said that playing in the WBC, much like last year's postseason run, can only help his pitchers gain experience.
"Any time you get to pitch on an international level like this one which has grown into a great event, it's a great experience," the Nationals' manager explained, "No.1, there is a lot of pressure on you just representing your country and double that pitching in your hometown," as Gio Gonzalez did this week. "I think that any experience like this is nothing but great," Johnson said, "It was great for Detwiler. Great for Gio. And hopefully they'll bring home a championship." If they get there, Johnson, who had Gio Gonzalez available for Game 5 of this past October's NLDS, thinks U.S. skipper Joe Torre will be in a good position heading into the tournament finale.
"I love the way it's setting up for Joe," Johnson said, before making an assumption about which team the U.S. might meet. "Because Japan's obviously, they've won it twice, so he's setting up to have a good left-hander to go possibly against them in the finals and that's perfect." Ross Detwiler will try to remain perfect in the WBC as well if and when he takes the mound tonight in Miami, Florida's Marlins Park. The U.S. vs the Dominican Republic. 7:00 pm EDT from Miami. Who's Watching the WBC?
• Here's Team USA's Lineup for tonight's game against the Dominican Republic:
• Here's the Dominican Republic's Lineup:
Here is the lineup the Dominican Republic will go with tonight. twitter.com/USABaseball/st…— USABaseball (@USABaseball) March 14, 2013