Ross Detwiler handles elimination pressure with aplomb

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Plenty of writers have blasted the Nationals for shutting down Stephen Strasburg. Many of them were likely looking forward to doing it again if only his postseason rotation replacement, Ross Detwiler, would have obliged them by getting lit up and taking a loss as the Nationals were eliminated today.

Detwiler, of course, had other ideas. And it shouldn’t come as any big surprise that a guy with a 3.40 ERA during the regular season was able to hold down the Cardinals for six innings, even with the season on the line. There was perhaps some reason to be nervous; Detwiler hadn’t pitched in 12 days and his last outing, against these very same Cardinals, was probably his worst of the entire year.

Detwiler, though, came out with pretty good command Thursday and kept the Cardinals guessing by mixing up his pitches and changing speeds well. He allowed just three hits, all of which were singles. The only run he allowed came as the result of an error. That he struck out just two didn’t seem to matter.

It was a terrific outing, likely better than the one Strasburg would have turned in pitching in his place. As talented as Strasburg is, there’s a good chance he’d be wearing down had the Nationals allowed him to keep pitching. He may well have been even before he was shut down, as he struggled against the Marlins in two of his final three outings.

While it will continue to be debated in the weeks going forward, Detwiler did the best he could to render the Strasburg decision irrelevant. And hopefully he made a name for himself, too. Terming him a fourth starter doesn’t do him justice, and like Strasburg, he’ll be a part of more postseason rotations going forward.

 

Cubs acquire Jesse Chavez from Rangers

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The Cubs announced on Thursday evening that the club acquired pitcher Jesse Chavez from the Rangers in exchange for minor league pitcher Tyler Thomas.

Chavez, 34, has pitched out of the bullpen for the Rangers this season, compiling a 3.51 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 12 walks across 56 1/3 innings. The veteran right-hander inked a one-year, $1 million deal with the Rangers in February, so the Cubs are on the hook for the prorated remainder — a little less than $600,000.

Thomas, 22, was selected by the Cubs in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. The lefty has made 14 starts and one relief appearance for Single-A South Bend, putting up a 2.88 ERA with an 81/14 K/BB ratio in 75 innings.