Detwiler ready to forget last start on must-win Thursday

Ross Detwiler chooses to forget his last outing. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits with five walks. It was a loss.

Who was it against?

The St. Louis Cardinals.

“I try not to remember that one,” Detwiler said of his Sept. 30 start. “I am really going out there trying to throw strikes, trying to get ahead in the count. Make the hitters hit my pitch instead having to come after them 2-1 and 3-1 like I was the whole time.”

Which team does Detwiler need to beat to continue the Nationals’ season?

His hometown team, the Cardinals.

Is he nervous in a must-win situation, with the Nationals facing elimination from the best-of-five National League Division Series? How will his day play out?

“It is my first one,” he said. “It is earlier in the day, that way I don’t have all day to think about it. During the game I will try to slow myself down as much as possible.”

After a slow start out of the blocks, Detwiler was sent to the bullpen to come in as a reliever. Working with left-hander Michael Gonzalez, he learned that he needed to attack more and be less fine around the plate.

“When I got moved to the bullpen earlier in the year, it was Michael Gonzalez who really sat me down and said I really needed to be more aggressive and you really need to go out there with the killer mentality,” Detwiler recalled. “He kept that up all year. He has seen it slip a bit on me and he sat me back down and said, ‘Look, this is what is happening.’ I give a lot of my success to him for helping me out.

“But also (I learn from) watching the other four starters the entire year, how they do it. Like if E.J. (Edwin Jackson) gives up a run he will say, ‘That is all they get.’ That will pump up our hitters and say, ‘I am going to go out there and throw up some zeroes.’ Gio (Gonzalez) is always happy on the mound and always loose and Jordan (Zimmermann) is aggressive as I want to be.”

But Gonzalez, Zimmerman and Jackson were unable to complete the task in the first three starts of the series. Detwiler now must go out and save the Nationals’ season.

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