Detwiler demonstrates Nats pitching depth

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Left-hander is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA

It took an injury to Chien-Ming Wang to get Ross Detwiler into the rotation. It’s nice to have a former No. 6 overall draft pick (2007) as a fallback position. With his 2-1 victory Thursday night over Arizona, Detwiler improved to 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA.

The 26-year-old worked 6 1/3 innings, allowed three hits, three walks and one run. Manager Davy Johnson took Detwiler out after he had thrown 92 pitches, his most in five starts. Johnson explained why he has had a quick hook with one of his most effective starters.

“When a youngster – and to me he’s a youngster -- pitches that good a ball game, I don’t want there to be any chance that he gets beat,” Johnson said. “I want to control the match-ups. He was about at his pitch limit … I’ve got confidence in my guys in the bullpen.”

Ryan Mattheus, Tyler Clippard, and Henry Rodriguez justified that confidence, mowing down all eight batters they faced. Mattheus entered with a runner on second and got a fly out from Ryan Roberts and fanned A.J. Pollock.

A successful call-up last season, in which Detwiler pitched to an ERA of 3.00 in 10 starts and five relief appearances, should have guaranteed Detwiler a spot in the rotation, especially considering the investment the team made in him as the No. 6 overall pick.

But this spring Detwiler found himself slated for long relief, or perhaps even a trip back down to AAA Syracuse. Those plans changed however when Wang stepped awkwardly on first base in spring training, blew out a hamstring, and created an opening in the rotation.

“If I’m in the pen and Wang doesn’t get hurt, then I’ve got to do whatever I can,” Detwiler said. “I can’t dwell on it and say, ‘Woe is me.’ That’s not gonna get me anywhere. That will get me no job.”

With Detwiler pitching to a WHIP of 0.99, consider it likely that he’ll hold onto his slot for a while.

“We got a bunch of team players, guys who are willing to do what it takes to make the team better. Ross is one of those guys,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “He had prepared himself mentally to be in the bullpen. When the opportunity came he answered the bell.”

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