Mar 3, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Ross Detwiler (48) pitches in the second inning as they play the New York Yankees in a spring training exhibition game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Nats News 3/22

Start off your weekend with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:

Ross Detwiler might provide Washington Nationals the relief they need

(Thomas Boswell, Washington Post)

VIERA, Fla. — For two seasons, the Washington Nationals have watched an emerging trend in the importance and construction of big league bullpens. And they have been on the wrong side of history both years. The answer to their problem, they hope, is Ross Detwiler, though he could be forgiven if he loathes the decision to send him to the bullpen.

In recent years, top teams, especially the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, have sent waves of hard-throwing relievers at foes, including the Nats. Not the traditional two or three but four and five, each spewing smoke or darting trick pitches.

To an established starter such as Detwiler, the bullpen may seem like purgatory, a limbo where he may be just the fourth- or fifth-most important contributor. “It caught me by surprise,” Detwiler said. Like Wile E. Coyote and the anvil.

But almost all the Nats see it differently.

“This is something that is going to make us better this year,” Jayson Werth said. “Game 5 of the Division Series against the Cardinals — that’s the example [of how Detwiler could help as a reliever]. We got a 6-0 lead off their starter, but they brought one guy after another out of the pen who threw close to 100 miles per hour, and we only scored one more run.” Read full article here.

National League East bends at the elbow in Washington Nationals’ favor

(Thomas Boswell, Washington Post)

Ten days before the baseball season even begins, the Washington Nationals just won the National League East — on paper and with the oddsmakers, two places that are indicative yet don’t matter.

Soon come 162 games to find out whether the Nats can claim that title in reality, including six meetings in the first dozen days of the season against the devastated rotation of the Atlanta Braves.

Don’t print the playoff tickets yet. But don’t pretend the Nats’ season hasn’t changed radically because awful injury luck just hit their main rivals.

Part of the Nats’ professional responsibility is to proclaim — and try to make themselves believe — that the season-ending and career-threatening second Tommy John surgeries for two of the Braves’ best pitchers, ace Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, do not dramatically slash Atlanta’s chances. But of course they do. Read full article here.

Washington Nationals’ 5th Starter Spot All Down to Taylor Jordan

(Nick Comando, Rant Sports)

It has been well documented as the Washington Nationals‘ Spring Training has progressed. Many believed that there would be intense three-man competition for the vacant fifth starter spot, which was between Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan. Detwiler has since been demoted to the bullpen, which is believed to be a permanent switch, after a 6.43 ERA in three spring starts. Detwiler, as always, is a one-pitch pitcher who loves to pound the zone with fastballs. Unfortunately, as a starter that is a recipe for short starts and eventual disaster. Roark has not been much better, posting a 4.50 ERA, and his versatility may be better served in the bullpen. Needless to say, it all is down to Jordan as it has become his spot to lose. Read full article here.

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