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Posted at 6:31 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Ross Detwiler's improved mechanics translate in his first spring training appearance

By Adam Kilgore

Before today, Ross Detwiler had been perhaps the most promising player in Nationals spring training during the most unimportant time to be promising. Detwiler, showcasing new, improved mechanics, had impressed Nationals officials during bullpen sessions and live batting practices. They could not help but wonder how it would look and play in a game.

Today, in relief of Livan Hernandez, Detwiler provided an answer that did nothing to dampen his stock. He pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three while walking none and allowing two singles, one of them a broken-bat bleeder.

Detwiler himself wondered if he could take his mechanics from the bullpen to the center of the diamond. By the end of his two innings, he was satisfied.

"The biggest thing is to see how it translates over to a game," Detwiler said. "The thing I'm happiest about being out there today was just not trying to feel through mechanics and not trying to make them smooth, just trying to go about my business. I think they were smooth."

Detwiler, according to one Nationals employee wielding a radar gun, fired his fastball between 91 and 93 miles per hour. He said his curveball is not as sharp as he would like, but it was good enough to make Ike Davis, the first batter he faced, stare at one for strike three.

By walking no one, Detwiler continued a healthy trend for the Nationals. In their first two games, Nationals pitchers have surrendered only two walks in 18 innings, one by Craig Stammen and one by Cole Kimball. When pitchers gathered with pitching coach Steve McCatty, he emphasized aggression, and the Nationals have adhered.

"It's really good," said Livan Hernandez, who allowed one run in three innings today in his first start. "We had a meeting earlier this year. We talked about that. McCatty told us we've got to let the guys hit the ball. Right now, we're doing good."

By Adam Kilgore  | March 1, 2011; 6:31 PM ET
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Next: How important is the Nationals' strong start?


Keep throwing strikes!

Posted by: Brue | March 1, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's see Detwiler make it through the lineup the third time before we come to any conclusions.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 1, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

To augment on baseballyay's good comment from an earlier post:

Has anyone noticed. . . out of 42 pitches thrown so far today, only 4--that's right 4--have not been strikes.

It's only Spring and only game 2 but there seems to be sharpness present

Posted by: baseballyay | March 1, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't able to really check on the game today (psyched for the (I know it's still early ST, but still) win), but just looked at the box score, and those 4 non-strikes were by only one pitcher who pitched today:

Hernandez, L 16-16
Detwiler 13-13
Kimball 9-5
Balester 4-4
Clippard 8-8
Storen, D 8-8

There seems to be sharpness present, indeed!

Posted by: NatAlbert | March 2, 2011 2:09 AM | Report abuse

NatAlbert, I read your post and immediately was skeptical. 58 pitches to get through a nine inning game? Can't be.
I looked at the gameday boxscore. Detwiler piched an inning, gave up a base hit, all on only 4 pitches?
I went through the gameday 7th inning.
First pitch pop out
Second pitch fly out
Third pitch double
Fourth pitch fly out

58 pitches.
I'm still skeptical.
but that sure is what it seems like.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 2, 2011 6:08 AM | Report abuse

The all-strikes box score is, as you assumed, a glitch. Nationals pitchers threw plenty of strikes, but not that many. I forget exactly. Livo threw 41 pitches in three innings, and Detwiler threw 28 pitches, 18 strikes, in two.

Posted by: AdamKilgore | March 2, 2011 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Adam.
Seemed too out of whack to be true.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 2, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse lied to me?
Thanks most definitely for the clarification guys, at that hour my beer-addled brain was willing to accept all things baseball magic.
I should've recognized the ludicrosity (sure hope that's a word, if not, i'm keeping it anyway) of such a low count for a nine-inning game.

Thanks again, let's go fishing and get 3!

Posted by: NatAlbert | March 2, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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