Another loss for the Nationals means little at this point. It doesn’t even mean that much that 2009 World Series MVP Cole Hamels pitched a no hitter into the 6th inning, finally broken up by Mike Morse of all people. Morse, by the way, is hitting .286 right now in his few games, so even though he hasn’t walked AT ALL or hit with any power, he hasn’t looked overwhelmed. None of that REALLY matters, as the team is just counting the days until the offseason.
In fact, what really matters, is the pitching performance by Ross Detwiler. He only went 5 innings, but the length of his start was likely preordained. What was impressive was how he pitched. In those 5 innings, he struck out 6 and only walked 1. He gave up 4 hits, and other than the double to Rollins, none were damaging. In his first start since May, he gave up 2 singles in the first and managed to work out of the inning without giving up a run. Throughout the 5 innings he struck out Victorino, Howard, and Utley, among others.
It was a very good start by a 23 year old who has now, in order:
- Destroyed Rookie League at age 21(2007)
- Struggled in High-A at age 21 (2007)
- Not great in High-A at age 22, but had real good peripherals (2008)
- Dominated in AA at age 23 (2009)
- Had some ok appearances, but really got shelled in the Majors at age 23 (2009)
- Dominated in AAA at age 23 (2009)
- Returned to go 5 IP, 6 K, 1 BB, 4 H against the Phillies at age 23 (2009)
I think it’s important to remember that the Phillies are the highest scoring team in the National League, at just over 5 runs per game. The also play in a stadium that is hitter friendly. Detwiler, to come out and pitch strongly in his first start in the majors since June, where he went 3 consecutive starts giving up at least 5 ER and striking out no more than 3 each time, really impressed me. I am still a believer, I think he’s the best bet to round out the future rotation out of the hundreds of guys who have been tried this year. Hopefully, this start will lead to one more next week, and he’ll build on it and have a solid spring.