With speculation the Atlanta Braves have acquired pitcher Ryan Dempster, the pressure intensifies for right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to figure out what is wrong with his approach.
A step in that direction could occur tonight as the right-hander gets another shot to prove he is good enough to get outs for the Nationals when he starts for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
This will be his second start for the Senators this season. He lost that earlier outing, going four innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, two earned, with no walks and three strikeouts.
Wang is 2-3 with a 7.61 ERA in seven games this season with the Nationals, and has been very hittable. He has not pitched for the major league club since June 30, and allowed 15 hits in his last 6 1/3 innings.
He also has worked through a hamstring injury in spring training, hip soreness recently and, of course, a previous shoulder issue that could always use additional strengthening.
This would be a good time for Wang to have a performance filled with a lot of groundouts and fewer well-hit balls for base hits. With Stephen Strasburg's expected innings limit now within six weeks, Wang's continued improvement is necessary for him to get another shot to help the Nationals down the road.
The Senators also got some good news today with the return of right-hander Kevin Pucetas, who was named an Eastern League All-Star following a sterling first-half performance. He has won four of his last six decisions, and has a 6-3 record with a 3.13 ERA overall. Pucetas had been out with a tweaked knee and made his last appearance July 5.