It is important for the left side of the Nationals bullpen to regain some consistency as the September stretch run soon commences.
Left-hander Jerry Blevins has hit a couple of rough spots. In his last 10 appearances, Blevins is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA. He has allowed eight earned runs in the past 10 2/3 innings. Blevins has a 2.31 ERA versus left-handed batters and an 8.31 ERA against right-handed hitters.
Left-hander Ross Detwiler is 1-0 with a 5.84 ERA in his last 10 games. He also has allowed eight earned runs in the past 12 innings, with six strikeouts and 20 hits allowed. Detwiler has a 1.89 ERA against lefties and 5.20 ERA versus righties so far in 2014.
Left-hander Matt Thornton has been the find. The 37-year-old has displayed a 96-97 mph fastball after arriving off a waiver claim from the Yankees. He is an incredible 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his last 10 games. In eight innings, he has given up only five hits, no runs and one walk while striking out four batters. Thornton has a 1.37 ERA versus left-handed hitters and a 2.84 ERA against right-handed batters.
It is imperative that Blevins and Detwiler start getting back into a nice groove to not only get left-handed hitters out, but also show the ability to get a right-hander out every once and awhile. Their value will become crucial in those critical late-inning match-ups against the opponents’ best pinch-hitters. Blevins and Detwiler will most likely need to come up big in possible pennant-deciding games or one-and-done playoff match-ups.
The bullpen will work as a unit as it has done the entire season. Blevins and Detwiler are important cogs to the entire relief corps’ success. They are going through a bumpy stretch, but have the ability to be successful.
On to the minor leagues, the Potomac Nationals announced that manager Tripp Keister, has been named the 2014 Carolina League Manager of the Year.
Also, Potomac first baseman Shawn Pleffner, second baseman Tony Renda, shortstop Stephen Perez and designated hitter Oscar Tejeda have been named to the season-ending Carolina League All-Star team.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Pleffner is hitting .298 with 29 extra-base hits and 44 RBIs in 95 games. The 25-year-old Pleffner was a 26th-round selection from 2011 from Tampa, and was born in D.C. He is currently on the seven-day disabled list.
The 23-year-old Renda is hitting .307 in 104 games with 25 extra-base hits. He was a second-round selection from 2012 out of California and will play for the Mesa Solar Sox int he Arizona Fall League.
The 24-year-old Tejeda hit .270 in 94 games for P-Nats prior to a Double-A call-up. He had 16 homers and had 65 RBIs.
The 23-year-old Perez has hit .258 with 28 extra-base hits, 27 stolen bases and 50 RBIs in 120 games. The switch-hitting Perez was an eighth-rounder in 2012 out of Miami.
Triple-A Syracuse needs a win tonight or tomorrow to clinch its first division title since 1989.