Rick Ankiel went 3-3 with a home run and an RBI to lead the Washington Nationals to a clutch 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on Friday night. Ankiel’s hitting supported yet another stellar performance from Washington’s pitchers, who shut down the Marlins on four hits.
Washington fans hope the victory marks the first step in breaking the choke-hold the Marlins have had against the Nationals. While Ankiel’s hitting was key, Ross Detwiler showed once again why he was named Washington’s fifth starter after coming out of Spring Training. Detwiler threw six innings of three hit ball, then was supported by a trio of relievers — including Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard and closer Henry Rodriguez. This was Detwiler’s second victory of the year.
“Det was superb,” Nats’ manager Davey Johnson said following the victory. “I think he had another inning in him. But he had a shortened spring where he got into the rotation late, and that was just his third outing, against a good-hitting ballclub. I didn’t want to push my luck. I had a fresh bullpen. He was a little shocked that I took him out.”
Ankiel’s 3-3 night included a third inning home run (a shot — to the back of the center field entrance), a single in the bottom of the 5th, and an 8th inning double to right field. The Nats were pleased with their play, particularly considering the Marlins have dominated the team in the past. “This is a big series,” Johnson noted. “We’ve had a history of not playing good against Florida — or Miami. Not that we thrashed them, but we beat them first time out of the chute,” Johnson said.”We know we’re pretty good. We just have to go prove it.”
Those Are The Details, Now For The Headlines: The Daily Pitch says there’s no one pitching better, “or faster” than the Nationals. But it’s not simply speed that makes Nats’ starters special, the Pitch says. Nationals’ hurlers are throwing over 65 percent first pitch strikes, which ranks them just behind the Dodgers and Cardinals in the National League . . .
In case you didn’t notice, White Elephants veteran righty Bartolo Colon threw 38 straight strikes the other night against the Los Angeles Angels of (you got it) Anaheim — not exactly a bunch of chumps. According to Bleacher Report, “17 were called strikes, 10 were foul balls, 10 balls were put in play (eight outs and two hits) and stunningly only one was a swinging strike.” Thirty-five of the 38 strikes were either two seam or four seam fastballs. Here’s a video, and it’s well worth watching . . .
Here’s an even more impressive breakdown of Colon’s offerings: thirty five of the pitches were fastballs, 27 were in the zone, 17 were strikes without a swing, ten were foul balls, ten were put in play, and only one was a swing and a miss. Colon threw 108 pitches in the game (oh, the A’s won, 6-0 by the way), 82 of them for strikes . . .
Beginning in the 5th inning and well into the 8th, eleven batters in a row saw nothing but strikes. A’s fans extolled Colon, but fans of the Belinskis were less impressed. Their solution — fire hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. They have a point: Halo hitters stood there and watched it happen. “There appears to be no process for scouting pitchers and putting together a game plan before a game and there sure as hell aren’t any in game adjustments being made,” Halo Hangout noted.
“I felt like I threw a lot of strikes, but I never thought I threw 38 in a row. I didn’t know anything about it until I came in here,” Colon said through a translator. “The two-seamer was the most consistent pitch that I had tonight. I feel good because I know that team has great players.”
We shouldn’t be surprised by the Colon outing, though we know a lot of people who shook their head when Brad Billy Beane signed the righty for one year and $2 million in January. Admit it: we all thought ‘what an idiot. Brad Billy has lost his touch.’ We should know better. Colon pitched well for the Yankees last year, and won the A.L. Cy Young Award back in 2005 as a member of the Angels when he went 21-8 with 3.24 ERA and 157 strikeouts.