Ross Detwiler’s day is done after six strong innings of work.
In his third start of the season, Detwiler held the Marlins scoreless over his six frames, allowing just three hits and a walk. He struck out seven, tying a career high, and needed just 79 pitches to get through the sixth.
He leaves with a 1-0 lead and Craig Stammen coming out of the bullpen to take over in relief.
I know Detwiler was used primarily as a reliever in spring training and the Nationals are still trying to stretch him out, but I’m surprised to see the lefty pulled this early.
He was mowing through the Marlins lineup, had just struck out Miami’s No. 3 and 4 hitters - Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton - to end the sixth inning and his pitch count was still low.
Manager Davey Johnson has talked about how the Nats’ bullpen has been taxed early in the season because of all the extra-inning games and tight finishes, and this seemed like an opportunity to let Detwiler try and go one more inning and save the ‘pen a little more.
Of course, Stammen has been spectacular so far this season, as have most of the guys in Johnson’s bullpen.
You just don’t often see a starter who had thrown six shutout innings on just 79 pitches get pulled prior to the seventh.
Update: Stammen delivered a perfect seventh inning, lowering his ERA to a sparkling 1.04, and Tyler Clippard followed with a scoreless - yet dramatic - eighth.
Clippard found himself in a jam with a runner on second and two outs, and after a ridiculous 14-pitch battle with Emilio Bonifacio, walked the Marlins center fielder.
He then faced Hanley Ramirez, and after falling behind 2-0, fired in three straight strikes to set down the third baseman and end the threat.
It’s still 1-0 Nats as we go to the bottom of the ninth. Henry Rodriguez is warming for Washington and will come on for the save.