The Nationals' young starters have done a solid job keeping the team in games. Now the bullpen needs to pull its weight and start saving some of their games.
It's important in the development of these young pitchers to know their wins will remain in tact once they leave the game.
Ross Detwiler starts tonight against the Phillies' J.A. Happ. He told me Wednesday in New York that he loves the challenge of facing a lineup like the Phillies. He also said the lefty-lefty matchup of going up against Ryan Howard favors the pitcher.
That's a good attitude to take into a game against one of the most potent offenses in the National League.
The young lefty also said playing in the big leagues this season is different from 2007 because he knows more what his role is. When he was up in 2007 he worked out of the bullpen. Now he has a better routine because he's a starter.
Ross has only had a few at bats since high school, so he's still looking for his first big league hit. He said he likes bunting because that usually means someone is already on base. Having such a powerful offense like the Nats have is something he likes, too. Ross told me it definitely takes pressure off the pitcher knowing the team can come back. even when they're down 3-5 runs.
Help is on the Way...
Former Kansas City Royals closer Mike MacDougal joins the Nationals tonight in Philly. He was KC's number one pick in 1999.
The right-handed pitcher had two saves and a 3.24 ERA at Triple A Syracuse. He started the season with the White Sox and signed with the Nats after being released by Chicago.
MacDougal features a nasty slider, fastball, curve and changeup, and his Dad, Tom, played in the Royals farm system so baseball was in his blood at a very early age.