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Signs point to Matt Chico for Sunday

The Nationals have not made any announcement about who will start Sunday in Luis Atilano's place, but Matt Chico seems like the best bet.

Manager Jim Riggleman mentioned three pitchers by name: John Lannan, Ross Detwiler and Chico. Lannan is pitching at the moment for Class AA Harrisburg, which eliminates him. Detwiler is scheduled to pitch Monday for Harrisburg, which eliminates him.

That leaves Chico, who would be easiest to plug in. He last pitched July 18 in Syracuse, which would give him ample rest between starts. He's also thrown well lately, pitching for seven shutout innings in each of his last two starts. Again, while the Nationals know internally who will start, nothing is official. But it seems probable that Chico will start Sunday.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 22, 2010; 8:01 PM ET
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Next: If the Nats ever get on a roll, the time could be now


If there were odds on this, I'd think they would look like: Chico 5-1, Detwiler 8.5:1, Olsen 12:1.
Granted, Chico is the easiest 'plug-in' solution, but if Rizzo & Riggleman really want a look at a possible future, they'll go with Detwiler on short rest, imo.

Posted by: BinM | July 22, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Detwiler doesn't make sense because of schedule. They're not going to take a rehabbing guy, just getting stretched out, and throw him on 3 days rest.

And this quote, ...But the pitcher who replaces will be called up, "because we want him to pitch here for a while," Riggleman said...means nothing.

Sports managers say what they're supposed to say, and what is the "truth" at that point in time. Come Saturday, we'll have a different "truth", and Chico will be heading to Milwaukee.

Or so guesses I....

Posted by: Sunderland | July 22, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

If I had to guess I'd say its going to be:

Batista on Sunday. Detwiler to follow in that slot. Makes the most sense. Detwiler has the most apparent upside over every pitcher except JZimmnn. (Possibly Maya when he signs as well.)

Riggleman said they wanted the guy to stay for awhile ... to evaluate him over a long period of time. Chico as a stop gap, but not as the permanent plug-in at this point.

The signs point to Batista as well. He hasn't been used as he would normally have been in this past series.

Posted by: periculum | July 22, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The last time Batista pitched was July 19th where he threw 17 pitches in 0.1 innings. Sunday would give ol' rubber arm plenty of rest I reckon. Looks like a good sign to me AK?

Posted by: periculum | July 22, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Anyone by chance watching the Orioles game against the Twins? Ty Wigginton just had an epic meltdown when the ump blew a call on a pickoff play. There was no buildup, Wigginton just totally erupted, bumped the ump, screaming at him and spewing tobacco juice everywhere. I'm really impressed he didn't swallow his chaw.

Yeah, he got tossed and Juan Samuel followed him a few minutes later with another blow up with the home plate umpire (Bill Hahn, the guy who tossed Roy Oswalt against the Nats earlier this year and is really a terrible umpire). Sammy did his best Earl Weaver, with some yelling and hat tossing/kicking. Most excitement at an Orioles game all year.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 22, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Now there's a fan running loose on the field. The police are apparently being very careful to haul him in without breaking out the tasers, so it's taking a while.

The funny thing is MASN isn't showing because they "don't want to encourage bad behavior." What do they think the Orioles are doing and they're showing that every night?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 22, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

periculum, you may have a point there. I'd still say Chico but they could bring up Detwiler, the guy who will "stay for awhile," and get him ready for his turn next week and go with Batista. But if they do that, they wouldn't have to bring up Detwiler this weekend, they could bring back (you guessed it) Maxwell or another position player until it's time for Detwiler to pitch.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 22, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Detwiler: 8 walks against 33 strike outs. @baltova1, don't tell Maddy ... ;)

Posted by: periculum | July 22, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Even with the back end of our rotation, I like our chances in MKE. Brewers starters have been getting rocked. Three of the last five Brewers starters have yielded 10 runs or more. By themselves. Just the starters.

Stammen, Martin and Cheeks look like Koufax, Drysdale and Osteen compared to these Brewers chowskis.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | July 22, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

All sign's point to a loss this Sunday but that's the tenure of this franchise trying to force a round peg into a square whole, the Brewers are a hard hitting ball club and guy like Chico who is the twin to John Lannan is gonna get killed this sunday i hope i'm wrong but i doubt it.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 22, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Sunshine_Bobby, can you have a little talk with dargregmag?

"Chowskis?" Excellent...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 22, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

BTW, not a very good night for Lannan.

5 IP, 9 H, 4R, 3ER, 0BB, 5K

His ERA in AA is now 4.29.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 22, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Martis only lasted 3 innings in Syracuse ...

Still you have to wonder if they are tracking the big club's progress and when they see themselves way down in the pecking order ...

Not all have the makeup of a JD Martin who is relentlessly persistent in his competitiveness ...

Posted by: periculum | July 22, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Would be sad if we never saw John boy again. He's hurt, he's got to be.

It'll be an interesting call for Riggs and Rizzo, Chico or Batista. I still think Chico. With Batista, you know you're asking your bullpen to 4 innings. (although they do go 3 or 4 almost every night Livo doesn't pitch).

They might wait till Saturday to decide.

Either way, we're all saying that the spot is Detwilers the next time around. I've kinda got my hopes up for Detwiler, and that makes me nervous....

Posted by: Sunderland | July 22, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's the beautiful thing about baseball. Matt Chico could start Sunday against Dave Bush, who gave up 10 runs (2 earned) in the first inning his last time out, and we could still see 2-1. "In baseball, you don't know nothing."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 22, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't see much sense in rushing Detwiler up here, either. A., he won't help much if he stays, and B., it won't help him much if he's worried about getting sent back down. Give him something to look forward to--let him finish rehabbing.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 22, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I *am* hoping to see Maya well before September, though.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 22, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I didn't read all the other comments, but I just want to throw this out there...

also, I realize this may sound like the uninformed baseball fan just yapping...

but what's wrong will calling up Detwiler, and just telling yourself (as Riggs/Rizzo) that you want to get 7 or 8 innings out of Detwiler and Batista that day?

Maybe Detwiler isn't at the point yet that you want to rely on him for 6 or 7+, but he's clearly the "BEST" option, right? Or at least the "most ready?" So this first start you only rely on him for 4 or 5 or 6 and no matter how well (or horrible) he's doing, you pull him and insert the most appropriate reliever.

I dunno, it just seems to me that if you really think this is going to be a pitcher you call up for at least multiple starts if not the long haul, it should be Detwiler.

Posted by: fuglynats | July 22, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

"With Batista, you know you're asking your bullpen to 4 innings. (although they do go 3 or 4 almost every night Livo doesn't pitch)."

Last time they faced Milwaukee Batista pitched 5 on April 18th. Before July 19th with 17 pitches he last pitched on July 10th. He looks like the weeeener to me...

Posted by: periculum | July 22, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Up to this point the Nats have gone 8-9 in July. Not bad, at least in this month so far.

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, Matt Chico has earned another start. The guy really gutted it out in '07. Nats fans could not have asked for more, despite the highlight film wild pitch.

And now, there'd be Livo and one of the guys the Nats got for him.


Posted by: nats24 | July 23, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Comung late to the previous very interesting discussion on Nyjer...

What a fascinating case study he is! Sunderland's breakdown of his stats is very illuminating but as we know the numbers only hint at the wide variations across the board in baseball skill he's demonstrated. If we had no other options in CF, I'd be inclined to say let's keep playing him and see what we have (as with Desi), but it seems to me we might have a very good MLB CF on our hands in Bernadina, and one who's four years younger than Nyjer to boot. Bernie's five tools would play very well in CF--e.g., his arm, which to me is fine for RF, would be above average in CF. Same with his power.

I make this suggestion on the assumption that it's harder to find a championship-caliber player at CF than RF (analogy with SS in the infield). Well, what about RF? Play Morse the rest of the year and let's see what we've got. If he doesn't pan out, acquire a Quentin-like RF in the offseason. Or, if you must trade Dunn, get Quentin right now. Presumably, Harper will be manning RF in a few years anyhow.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 23, 2010 2:39 AM | Report abuse

@fuglynuts -- another variation on your thought would be to start Batista and use Detwiler for middle relief if needed. That way, he may not have to pitch at all on short rest. My money's still on Chico being called up, though.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 23, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Nats Farm Authority has Chico starting tonight for Syracuse. I guess if he gets pulled tonight, that will give us the answer...if not, maybe it WILL be Batista.

Posted by: TimDz | July 23, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Please, not Lannan! Why not go with Clippard!

Posted by: crimsonmac | July 23, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@TimDZ he would have been "pulled" by now. Mike Rizzo is not idiosyncratic with his rosters the way Riggleman is with his lineups. No, its not Chico, its Detwiler ... but Sunday its Miguel Batista for 6 innings (hopefully) ... and then the rotation is reconstituted after the off day on Monday to include Detwiler.

Hopefully, Rizzo will be able to plan Zimmermann and Maya's introduction to the rotation and pitching staff a little more smoothly.

Marquis and Wang still have to prove they can pitch. If Zimmermann and Maya look better guess what it'll be wait til next year boyz. And i won't be unhappy about that.

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"Please, not Lannan! Why not go with Clippard!"

If Batista only lasts 4 or 5 you'll definitely get to see Clippard if they are still in the game, in other words, another grandslam or two allowed by Batista doesn't happen.

Posted by: periculum | July 23, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

no matter who is brought up, he must be able to keep the other team from scoring in the first few innings. really seems to be a problem. also, why does it take so long before either riggs or mc go to the mound to talk. seems as if they wait till the games get out of hand first, then it's like yep were down enough runs. can they not see the same as other people there is a problem. i know they can only come out so many times a game but, why not try something before your down runs.

Posted by: oldmoneyman | July 23, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Brewers rake lefties. Chico, Lannan, and Detwiller, uh...all lefties.

Hell, start Batista bring back Walker in the pen...

Posted by: CJArlington | July 23, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Joel Peralta has ever started, but I'd like to see him get a shot over Batista. He's pitched several innings in a row as a middle reliever, so maybe he has the stamina.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 23, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

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