Manager Davey Martinez confirmed what became clear Monday after the Nationals optioned Erick Fedde to Triple-A Fresno: Voth will remain in the big league rotation after his impressive season debut Sunday against the Braves. The rookie right-hander is lined up to start Saturday at Comerica Park in the middle game of a weekend interleague series with the Tigers.
“After seeing what Voth did in his previous outing here, we thought why not give him another chance?” manager Davey Martinez said. “So he’s going to start in Detroit, and we’ll see where we’re at from there.”
Summoned to make what appeared to be a one-time, fill-in start necessitating by the Nationals’ doubleheader earlier in the week against the Phillies, Voth dazzled over six innings. He gave up two solo homers but otherwise stymied
Atlanta’s tough lineup, striking out a career-high seven batters while pumping his fastball (which last year barely cracked 90 mph) up to 95-96 mph.
Voth takes over Fedde’s spot after the latter struggled in his two most recent starts. It was a bit of a short leash on the right-hander, who in his four previous starts had a 2.70 ERA and seemed for the first time to be establishing himself as a big league starter.
“We talked about this all the time with him: The biggest thing for him is to get ahead of hitters and work ahead of hitters, his tempo,” Martinez said. “We love when his tempo is quick and engaged in the game. He is going to go down there and continue to work on that stuff. We haven’t seen the last of Fedde, believe me. He’s going to be here. But right now, the way Voth pitched the other day, we really believe he deserved another chance.”
Zimmerman, meanwhile, is on track to come off the injured list this weekend and join the team for the series against the Tigers. The veteran first baseman, out since April 28 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, was set to play in his fourth rehab game with Double-A Harrisburg tonight, serving as designated hitter.
Martinez said the plan is for Zimmerman to play all nine innings at first base Wednesday, and that would put him in line to rejoin the team Friday.
Update: The Nationals have made Marlins starter Trevor Richards work a lot early on tonight, and they cashed on it during the top of the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Juan Soto lined a two-run single to center to get the Nats on the board. And though Howie Kendrick followed with a grounder to second, it was still enough to bring home another run to complete a three-run rally. And if that wasn’t enough, the Nats added three more in the fourth, thanks to a Victor Robles single, a Max Scherzer bunt “single” in which the Marlins infield completely screwed up and a bomb by Trea Turner over the Clevelander bar in left field. It’s 6-0, with Scherzer cruising on the mound.
Update II: The Marlins finally broke through against Scherzer in the fourth, though it happened via an infield single, two groundouts and an RBI single from Curtis Granderson. Otherwise, Scherzer has cruised. He’s through five innings of one-run ball on 62 pitches. Nats lead 6-1.