Nationals manager Davey Johnson says he doesn’t like to make decisions about his pitching rotation or bullpen in the heat of the moment, but he didn’t wait long to pull Ross Detwiler as the team’s No. 5 starter.
Less than a day after the 25-year-old left-hander turned in his third straight disappointing start, Johnson told the Washington Times’ Amanda Comak that Chien-Ming Wang (1-0, 3.00) would replace Detwiler (3-3, 3.88) in the rotation, starting Wednesday in Miami. Nationals radio play-by-play man Charlie Slowes also reported the news during Saturday’s game broadcast.
Wang, 32, relieved Detwiler in Friday night’s 7-4 victory over Atlanta and, after allowing two inherited runners to score, pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings before giving up a solo homer to Jason Heyward. It was his first appearance of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in spring training.
In his last three starts, spanning 14 1-3 innings, Detwiler has surrendered 14 earned runs on 21 hits and six walks. His ERA has shot up from 1.69 at the start of the month to 3.88 after Friday’s game. His shortest out ing of the year came Friday in Atlanta, when he threw 100 pitches in just 4 1-3 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks.
Afterward, Johnson expressed particular concern that Detwiler was not challenging the Braves’ hitters night and was trying to “get cute.”
The manager told Comak that Wang is not well suited to pitching in relief because he takes a long time to warm up, while Detwiler can get ready more quickly and pitch more often out of the bullpen. Johnson also compared Detwiler to his top three starters, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann and said he’s “definitely going to take care of him out in the bullpen.”
Even so, Detwiler was not pleased with the decision. Johnson told Comak that Detwiler took the news, “about like he took it when I took him out of the game [Friday] with two outs to go in the fifth. I want him to take it that way.”