The movie The Matrix has been on the movie channel rerun cycle lately, so if I may quote the character Morpheus, “Life it seems is not without a sense of irony.” The irony of Ross Detwiler being the guy who bails out the Nats with his stellar Game 4 outing is this; had Stephen Strasburg been active, it would most likely have been Detwiler who would have made way in the rotation. Instead he (finally) gave the Nats an effective start, going 6 innings, allowing just 3 hits and an un-earned run in the Nats 2-1 walk-off win.
Using a sinking fastball with great effect, Detwiler controlled the powerhouse St. Louis offense and kept the ball on the ground; 11 of his 18 outs recorded were ground ball outs. He was slightly wild on the night (3 walks and only 59 of his 104 pitches for strikes) but umpire Jim Joyce’s wide and varying strike zone helped both pitchers put up excellent lines on the night. Detwiler, the least experienced of any of our starters and a guy who most thought wouldn’t even be in the rotation this year (I certainly didn’t think so as spring training unfolded), was the one guy who has stepped up and pitched to his capabilities.
The game of course will be remembered for Jayson Werth’s fantastic 13 pitch at-bat, culminating with a walk-off home-run off Lance Lynn for what had to be one of the more memorable games in the team’s brief history. Good for Werth and great for this team. I’ve already got the image saved as an iconic moment in this franchise.
- Thanks for pre-empting the game for an HOUR, TBS. This was an unanticipated problem of trying to DVR the game and watch it later. In addition to avoiding all social media, news sites and phone alerts so as not to have the game outcome spoiled, now I may have to start taping on multiple channels. So I completely missed the first four innings. Hence not so much analysis of Detwiler’s outing.
- How about Jordan Zimmermann in the first relief appearance of his major league career? He was throwing harder than I’ve ever seen him throw; touching 97 on more than a few occasions. His mph was no stadium gun hype either: pitch f/x shows a max of 97.2 and an average of 96.73 for Zimmermann. Meanwhile, here’s the pitch f/x data for his start on 10/8: average 94.08, max of 95.6. That’s 1.6 mph more on his max effort fastball. He absolutely mowed down the heart of the St. Louis order (aided again by a questionable strike 3 call on Matt Holliday that just left him laughing). I figured Zimmermann was going for more than an inning, with Davey Johnson perhaps thinking the game might go long. Instead, it seems he was playing the odds that Craig Stammen wasn’t up for the task.
- Meanwhile, how about 9 straight punch outs to end the game? It was refreshing to “remember” what the back-end of this bullpen is capable of.
This is the Nats pitching effort we’ve been accustomed to, and have waited for all series. Now, suddenly, would you bet against this team in Game 5? We have talked a lot about momentum and how the Nats had little heading into the post-season; they’ve certainly got it now. Adam Wainwright should regress back towards the mean from his Game 1 start, and Gio Gonzalez should “egress” back towards his form of the bulk of the season. Game 5 could be a pretty special experience.