|Detwiler, above, could become an unlikely hero in this Nationals season today. (Photo: Keith Allison)|
This season was Detwiles first full season as a starter for the Nationals. He's seen the lowest of the lows, being benched for Chien-Ming Wang, and the highest of the highs, he struckout seven in April against the Marlins while giving up just three hits in a 2-0 victory. Today's game, however is by far the most important in his career.
The last time Detwiler squared off against the team from his hometown, the Cardinals, it didn't end well. He lasted just 2.1 innings and gave up seven runs, three earned, and four hits including a home run. He walked five and struckout just three while throwing 81 pitches. It was a dismal start to say the least.
Detwiler has yet to be put in this kind of position in his young career. He's never been the guy that a team has turned to with literally the season on the line. Today, he'll get his chance to make a huge statement against a line-up that has torn apart the Nationals pitching so far this series.
So far in this series, the Cardinals have put together 18 hits collectivley. They've hit two home runs and seven RBI. David Freese, Daniel Descalso, and Carlos Beltran have been the big three for the Cardinals. Freese has a batting average of .429, Beltran has collected three RBI, and Descalso has scored three runs.
If Detwiler wants to keep the Nationals playoff run alive, he'll need to bring his best stuff; which is something we haven't seen in a while. Detwiler lost three of his last four starts in the regular season including a 6-4 loss to the Phillies and a 10-4 loss to the Cardinals.
Detwiler hasn't pitched since September 30th and that will have a huge impact on how comfortable he is to start the game. Throwing a game simulation is nothing compared to the pressure of an elimination game.
If he can survive the early innings, the Nationals will have a chance. Another thing that will need to happen is for the bats to come alive. Simply put, the Cardinals have been hitting everything and the Nationals haven't been to get something going. They'll get a leadoff double and then spoil with three poor at-bats following that.
This team has relied and Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann all season long as their aces. Detwiler has been the guy at the end of the rotation that takes up a slot. Today, however, Detwiler will have his chance to solidify himself as a regular on the Nationals rotation.
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