Daily Wrap: Strasburg named Opening Day starter, Detwiler talks bullpen, & more
by Amanda Comak
VIERA, Fla. — The Washington Nationals fell to the Houston Astros, 2-0, on Wednesday night, despite a strong five-inning performance from Taylor Jordan and solid relief work from Ross Detwiler, Rafael Soriano and Tyler Clippard.
To the Daily Wrap…
News of the Day: Stephen Strasburg will be the Nationals’ Opening Day starter.
Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams announced Wednesday night that, for the third consecutive year, Stephen Strasburg will be the team’s Opening Day starter.
“He’s earned it,” Williams said after the team’s 2-0 loss to the Houston Astros. “He’ll toe that slab for us on Opening Day.”
This spring, Strasburg has allowed just one earned run in three starts while working on holding runners and incorporating a new pitch. He’ll make his fourth start of Spring Training on Thursday against the Detroit Tigers, and that start will line him up to be on turn for the Nationals’ March 31 opener at Citi Field against the New York Mets.
And while Strasburg was perhaps the expected choice, the uber-talented right-hander having done it the previous two years, Williams acknowledged that some of the other Nationals starters gave him pause before making the final decision. Jordan Zimmermann, a 19-game winner and an All-Star a season ago, was chief among them.
“We have a number of guys who could fill that position,” Williams said of the Opening Day honor. “But we spoke to Jordan and he’s good with pitching wherever and whenever. Opening Day is important, but the rest of the games are important, too.”
Quote of the Day: Ross Detwiler on taking a team-first attitude on his move to the bullpen.
Detwiler pitched a scoreless inning in relief on Wednesday night, the first step in his transition into the Nationals’ bullpen. Earlier in the day, the left-hander discussed the team’s decision with reporters, taking a team-first attitude to the move.
“I still view myself as a starter,” Detwiler said. “But I’m not going to go out there and hope somebody does bad or somebody gets hurt. We’re in it to win. And I think it’s going to hurt worse if we don’t win the whole thing this year.”
Taylor Jordan strikes out five in five innings.
Ross Detwiler fans Jason Castro in the sixth.
Danny Espinosa makes a diving stop and shows off his throwing arm.
Williams said Wednesday that right-hander Doug Fister, who pitched in a Minor League game on Monday, will return to the Major League rotation on Saturday against the Miami Marlins… Williams also said he expects the top of the Nationals’ rotation to feature Gio Gonzalez behind Strasburg and Zimmermann behind Gonzalez.