Three weeks after moving Chien-Ming Wang from the bullpen to the rotation and bumping Ross Detwiler from the rotation to the bullpen the Nationals are reversing that switch.
Wang flopped in four starts, allowing 13 runs in 17.2 innings with more walks (14) than strikeouts (11) and a .364 opponents’ batting average.
Detwiler had a couple rough starts before the demotion, but his 3.88 ERA in nine total starts made the decision an iffy one in the first place and he pitched well as a reliever with a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings.
Wang going to the bullpen is more about simply removing him from the rotation, because he’s had issues warming up quickly in the past and is unlikely to be used as more than a mop-up man. Perhaps the Nationals simply aren’t ready to give up on him completely, but relief work seems unlikely to suit him.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.