Despite allowing two runs in the first and third frames, Chien-Ming Wang managed to go six innings for the Nationals in a no decision Thursday in Game One of a doubleheader versus the Dodgers. He did not walk a batter and struck out three.
Wang said through an interpreter that the Dodgers tried to "get my first pitch. So, later on I threw more breaking balls." Wang said he would like to adjust his warmups so that he gets started a little earlier, that maybe that will help him get in a groove faster.
He was able to set down five in a row and Michael Morse misjudged a line shot in the third inning that could have been the second out, but turned into two more runs. But again, Wang got five more outs in a row and settled in.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he was pleased with Wang's game.
"He had a rough start, settled down and was great," Johnson said. He kept us in the ball game and gave us a chance to win it. I thought he was strong at the end. He could have gone a couple more innings. It was a tie ball game, (so) it was time to score some runs. Unfortunately, we didn't do it. I was very pleased with his outing."
Johnson said Wang was throwing a "great" sinker, and he had improved on that pitch since his last start. "I was really pleased the way the bottom was dropping out of it. His delivery was a lot sounder," Johnson said.
But should there be a concern for the slow starts in the first inning? Johnson said maybe the circumstances behind the serious shoulder injury might be a reason for allowing runs early in games.
Johnson believes the big picture for Wang is more important right now, and his Taiwanese pitcher is "getting closer and closer to getting healthy."