GB&U GAME 38: "Really Scary"

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, May 18, 2009 | , , , , , | 3 comments »

"If I have to keep a Double-A guy out there because I don't want to go to my big league bullpen, then that's really scary." --Manny Acta, May 19, 2009

THE RESULT: Ross Detwiler, making his second career appearance and first major league start, pitched well enough to win, and his offense scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to give him a chance to win.

Unfortunately, that left four innings up to the bullpen. And as they have all season long, the bullpen provided no relief whatsoever, giving up a total of nine runs, and the Washington Nationals lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-7 before an announced crowd of 14,549.

Detwiler, 23, the Nationals first round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, went five innings and gave up four hits and no walks, striking out six. He gave up three runs on a single, hit-by-pitch and three-run home run by veteran outfielder Craig Monroe.

The youngster threw 84 pitches, 61 for strikes. The story of the game should revolve around him.


What will linger on sports radio and in blog comments sections will be how bad the bullpen was once again.

Garrett Mock relieved Detwiler in the sixth and promptly walked the first batter he faced--ON FOUR PITCHES. That batter, Adamn LaRoche, took second on a wild pitch, and Mock hit catcher Robinzon Diaz with his next offering.

After a successful sacrifice, Mock gave up a two-run double to light-hitting Jack Wilson. Wilson would be Mock's last batter.

Jesus Colome entered, but he would be no better. He was hit hard for two doubles and a single, and three more runs.

Just like that, a rookie's first win turned into another miserable night at the ballpark for anyone wearing a Nats hat.

Adding insult to injury, newly re-appointed closer Joel Hanrahan was torched int he ninth for three runs on two hits and two walks, further fouling the moods of the few that stuck around to the end.

THE TAKEAWAY: This sucks. I'm sick of writing about it. You can't take seven guys in a bullpen and ASK THEM to be this bad on purpose.

THE GOOD: Ross Detwiler. Threw strikes. Kept his head down when ridiculous errors were being made behind him. Showed poise by striking out the next batter after giving up the home run.

He probably won't be in the bigs long, as the team plans to sent him back out to Syracuse. But he showed enough tonight to show he'll belong here when he gets back.

THE BAD: Take your pick. Mock. Colome. Wells. Hanrahan. They're all a mess.

THE UGLY: For the love of god, where the hell was Cristian Guzman's head in the top of the first? Two completely indefensible errors behind a pitcher making his first major league start. I could have made either play.

They were both slow hit rollers that Guz barely had to more his feet on, and he kicked them both. Probably cost Detwiler an inning because of all the extra pitches he had to throw.

Hernandez/Bard turned an out at home into another error, and Nick Johnson let a pick-off throw hit him in the chest.

Just shoot me.

NEXT GAME: We get to do it all again tomorrow! Shairon Martis (5-0, 4.10) takes on Jeff Karstens (1-2, 5.06).

NOTES: Guzman had two hits to raise his average to .385. He finally drew his first walk of the season, getting a fifth-inning pass in his 122nd plate appearance.

Ryan Zimmerman continued a 36-game on base streak with a monster solo home run.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2009. All Rights Reserved.

3 comments

  1. dcbatgirl // May 19, 2009 at 8:46 AM  

    You've pretty much summarized my sentiments.

    (Glad that I finally changed to Google Reader, which delivered your cheery summary to me, unlike the application I was using before.)

  2. DMan // May 19, 2009 at 11:06 AM  

    Seems to me the major leauger was on the mound and the double A guys were waiting in the pen. Pull your starter when he going good is Manny's mantra. For the most part I've liked Acta, but one habit he has bothers me - the tendancy to manage games like they're the 7th game of the world series. He over utilizes the pen and wears them out. If you stay with the plan to build for the future, you have to let your young guys stay in the game long enough to learn how to pitch out of jams and see who has the necessary mental toughness. The modern economics af baseball are destroying pitching. Even with teams managing arms so carefully, it does not change the basic fact that guys who have long term durability and the right mental character are rare commdities. It still doesn't change the fact that pitching is very Darwinian. The faster you run through the pretenders, the better off you'll be in the long term. Though? True - but that's the way it was done in the good old days and that is why you had starters who could pitch complete games year after year. The weak were weeded out.

  3. Dave Nichols // May 19, 2009 at 11:41 AM  

    DMan, an interesting comment, thanks.

    I think organizationally last night the plan was for Detwiler to get through five innings. Much is being made today about Acta lifting him for a hitter in the fifth after just 84 pitches, but I know the team plans to send him to Syracuse for a a while, so last night was going to be a cameo regardless.

    Plenty of people are debating the best way to develop talent, especially pitching talent. Until the "right" way is found, everyone's opinions are valid.

    i don't disagree with you that a good way to develop the mental aspect of the game is to let pitchers work out of their own jams.

    but i think, on the whole, we're seeing pitchers just throw too many pitches in the early innings to be able to go deep in games. and that's a function of MANY factors, not the least of which is that the mound is 4 inches lower than what it was "in the good old days".

    plus, no one had ever heard of Coors Field or Citizens Bank Park back then either.

    pitchers have changed, but so has the game.