One more game, then it’s home sweet home. Who knew a little five-game road trip could seem so long?
The plane ride back to D.C. after tonight’s game will seem a heck of a lot shorter if the Nationals can pick up a win tonight. The 25 guys in the clubhouse would like nothing more than to snap this skid and walk into Nats Park tomorrow with a clean slate, of sorts. A win tonight would give them that.
The Nats have an 11-game homestand to look forward to after this road trip to forget. Four games with the Cardinals await, starting tomorrow, followed by four against the lowly Cubs and three more against the Marlins.
It’s the longest homestand of the season, and it comes at a good time.
Ross Detwiler (7-6, 3.25 ERA) gets the ball tonight for the Nats. He’ll oppose Marlins rookie Jacob Turner (1-2, 6.87 ERA combined between the AL and NL), a 2009 first-round pick who came over to Miami from the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez trade last month.
Detwiler has fared quite well against the Marlins this season. In two appearances (one start, one relief outing), Detwiler has pitched eight scoreless innings against the Fish, allowing just five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
He’s allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last eight starts, and if you take out that one start in Arizona on Aug. 12 in which he was battling an illness, Detwiler has pitched to a 2.45 ERA since July 17.
You might recall that just four of Detwiler’s 78 pitches his last time out were off-speed, numbers which manager Davey Johnson was not pleased with. The Nats want Detwiler to rely on his fastball and attack hitters, but Johnson said his left-hander still needs to be more balanced with his pitch selection.
Tonight, he’ll face a Marlins team which teed off on Stephen Strasburg’s heater last night. All nine of the Marlins’ hits off Strasburg in their 9-0 win were on fastballs.
Take note of those numbers, Ross.
Turner, meanwhile, is a 21-year-old rookie right-hander who has made just seven career major league starts, but he’s actually pitched all right this season if you throw out a clunker against the Angels last month in which he allowed seven runs in two innings.
He’ll face a Nats team which is batting just .198 on this current road trip.