Too bad nothing exciting went down in last night’s 5-4 Nationals loss to the Rays.
All we had was a Nats starter (a two-time 19-game winner, mind you) pitch his way firmly onto the rotation bubble, his competition for the No. 5 starting spot dominant in relief, a former Nationals pitcher get called out as a cheater by someone on his old team, and the Rays manager toss expletives in the direction of the other clubhouse.
Just a nice, quiet little Tuesday night interleague game.
For what it’s worth, guys in the Nationals’ clubhouse seemed somewhat split in their reactions to Joel Peralta being caught with pine tar in his glove. Multiple players said they really like Peralta from their time playing with him, calling him a “great teammate” and a “stand-up guy.”
Others brushed off the incident, saying it was just a wacky thing to happen. “It’s always something,” one player said. Another Nats pitcher, however, was legitimately upset that Peralta would be caught attempting to doctor the baseball and was happy that the Rays reliever got ejected.
One piece of this whole drama that I don’t really understand is Rays manager Joe Maddon insinuating that the Nats were in the wrong for calling out a player they knew for a fact to be cheating. Maddon feels that because Peralta used to pitch for the Nationals, it was wrong of them to alert the umpires to the pine tar on his glove, whereas Tampa Bay’s skipper would have less of a problem with it if the Nats had found out about the pine tar on their own.
“Insider trading right there. It’s bush,” Maddon said. “It’s bogus, man. That’s way too easy right there. If you had done some really good police work and noticed something, that’s different. But that’s way too easy. That was set up on a tee for them.”
Maddon also said that pitchers using pine tar is “kind of a common practice” and even suggested that there are pitchers in the Nats’ clubhouse who keep the sticky substance in their gloves.
“If you want a reaction to the entire event, I would go talk to the National players and see what they think,” Maddon said. “I would bet they are not very pleased with what went on tonight.”
Will this carry over into tonight and tomorrow? We’ll see.
Finally, I wrote about this last night, but here are some final thoughts on the Chien-Ming Wang/Ross Detwiler situation.
After hearing Davey Johnson talk last night, I have a feeling the Nats will keep Wang in the rotation for the time being.
They’ve invested a lot of time and money in Wang over the last three years and have nursed him back from shoulder and hamstring injuries. They feel he’s a very talented veteran pitcher who can help them down the road in a playoff run, and when Stephen Strasburg is shut down after reaching his innings limit, the Nats will need to rely on their starting pitching depth and get guys to eat innings.
The numbers show that Detwiler is clearly the better pitcher right now. Since moving to the bullpen on May 30, the lefty has a 1.35 ERA, a .159 batting average against and a .570 OPS against. Wang, meanwhile, has a 6.62 ERA, .361 batting average against and 1.047 OPS against since being inserted into the rotation.
But I’d be surprised to see the Nats jettison Wang just yet, given all they’ve put into getting him healthy again and their faith in his ability.
Just one man’s take.