VIERA, Fla. - Add Ross Detwiler to the lengthy list of Nationals players who can’t wait for the regular season to start.
“Beautiful Viera, where the wind always blows out,” Detwiler joked as reporters approached him in the Nationals’ clubhouse after today’s outing.
Detwiler’s final tune-up before the regular season was a pretty solid one. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, both on solo home runs. He surrendered eight hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out two in a 92-pitch outing.
At times this spring, depending on the conditions and the feel of the pitches he has that particular day, Detwiler has focused on using more offspeed stuff, mixing it in with his four-seam fastball and sinking two-seamer. That’s something manager Davey Johnson has pushed Detwiler to do dating back to last season.
Today, that was tougher because of the wind, but Detwiler feels he’s made some strides in that area.
“I think it’s pretty much day by day,” he said. “I didn’t really throw many changeups today. Everything was kind of up. Those are the days you don’t really want to throw much offspeed, because it gets hit pretty hard. That was my problem with my curveball today - it was up so it got hit a few times. If it was down, I think I threw one down and I got a strikeout on it.
“But I feel like it’s day by day now. My last (outing) was in a minor league game. I had really good feel for it then. Today, I didn’t have that great of feel for it and I was obviously focusing on four-seam, in and out. So I feel good about most of them. Today, just one of those days.”
Because of his time with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, Detwiler only made five starts in front of the Nationals brass this spring, four in Grapefruit League games and that one that he referenced his last time out, which came on the minor league side.
Still, Johnson has seen enough to feel like his left-hander is ready for regular season play.
“Det threw the ball good,” Johnson said. “That schedule, the WBC, kind of messes you up a little bit. But I thought he still had good stuff at the end of the game.”
Detwiler’s schedule will continue to be a little wacky over the next week and a half. He isn’t scheduled to make his first regular season start until April 6 in Cincinnati, which means he’ll enter that outing on a whopping nine days’ rest.
That’s not unprecedented for Detwiler, however. He has experience being used in games on varying rest because of his time in the bullpen, and he also made his National League Division Series start last Oct. 11 after making his final regular season start Sept. 30.
As we all remember, Detwiler’s results in that NLDS Game 4 start weren’t too bad.
Johnson said that Detwiler will throw two or three bullpen sessions in between now and his April 6 outing in order to stay fresh.
“He’s pitched out of the ‘pen year before last, so he’s somewhere acclimated to that,” Johnson said. “I’m not real worried about it.”