VIERA, Fla. - We’ve got a 5-5 game here in Viera, as the Cardinals responded to Chad Tracy’s two-run homer in the sixth with three runs of their own off Brandon Mann in the top of the seventh.
Tracy’s longball was his first of spring and gave the Nationals four home runs in their last two games.
Wilson Ramos just stepped in for his first at-bat since tearing his ACL and meniscus last May 12, and after looking at fastball for strike one, Ramos bounced out to third base. He got a nice hand from the crowd, even after the groundout.
With winds blowing out to left field at more than 20 mph, Ross Detwiler threw two innings of one-run ball today in his final outing with the Nationals before leaving to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
The conditions definitely affected Detwiler, but he wasn’t complaining, instead noting that this was a nice tune-up for the type of weather that he could see during his regular season starts.
Detwiler threw 51 pitches today, 31 for strikes. He struck out four in his two innings, all swinging, and allowed four hits.
“I felt fine,” Detwiler said. “It wasn’t too solid contact, it was decent contact. Got groundballs when I wanted them. There was one that went through (for a single in the second inning). It was a good piece of hitting, but it was still a groundball, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”
Detwiler has been in Viera for about five weeks now, giving him plenty of time to build up arm strength and get a feel for his pitches. He might’ve only gotten in 4 2/3 innings in Grapefruit League games so far, but he feels like he’s where he wants to be going into WBC action.
“I only have three pitches, and I got good work in especially with the curveball,” Detwiler said. “The changeup’s a feel pitch. It’s going to come on later in the spring anyway. I don’t ever have a good feel for it early on. But I think everything’s coming out pretty good. I had good feeling off my fingers when I let go of the ball.”
Dating to last season, manager Davey Johnson Detwiler has been trying to get Detwiler to mix in more offspeed pitches along with his two- and four-seam fastballs. Detwiler liked how his offspeed stuff felt today.
“I think I threw more offspeed pitches in two innings today than I did all year last year,” Detwiler said. “(Catcher Kurt) Suzuki said he was a little surprised it was actually pretty decent because I didn’t throw it at all last year.
“I threw one changeup that was really good. It was called a ball, I think it might’ve been a little low, but that’s where I want to miss.”
Detwiler will leave tomorrow morning for Arizona, where he’ll meet up with his Team USA squad. The lefty acknowledged that leaving camp to take part in the WBC is a bit of a mix of emotions.
“I think it’s going to be for a good cause, but you never really want to leave teammates behind,” Detwiler said. “But it’ll be a lot of fun. I’m pretty excited about going and being able to represent my country. ...
“There’s only one goal in mind. Obviously, you don’t want any injuries or anything. The overall goal is to win the World Series. Gold would be nice, but we have a lot of work to do here.”
Update: In his second at-bat since returning from his knee injury, Ramos ripped a double off the base of the wall in right-center leading off the ninth, capping off a seven-pitch at-bat.
Pinch-runner Sandy Leon moved to third on a Chris Marrero groundout, and then Zach Walters’ single to right brought Leon home with the winning run.
The Nats come out with a 7-6 victory.