Relying almost exclusively on his fastball, either a two-seam version that sinks or a four-seam version with which he can pitch in on hitters, his ground-ball percentage is at the highest it’s been in his major league career. The same goes for his infield fly ball percentage.
“I want to get beat with my best if I’m going to get beat,” Detwiler said, explaining the fact that he threw 93.3 percent fastballs in his previous start and 90.1 percent in his first one.
“I think striking people out, there’s definitely a time and place for it. For me, it’s a little overrated. I don’t want to throw three strikes, five pitches or whatever it is. I want to get you out on the first or second pitch. I want to go deeper into a game. … There comes a time where you don’t want to only go five. You see all these guys they call the best pitchers in the game and they’re going seven, eight, nine innings each time out with consistency.”
There was a time where Detwiler’s pitch counts would soar close to 100 in the sixth inning. In his first start this season, which came on nine days of rest, he was at just 82 pitches after six innings of work. In his last one, he needed just 90 to get through seven.
“That’s maturity as a pitcher, not as a person,” said Knorr, now Washington’s bench coach. “To not let the game get away from you and continue to still pitch. He’ll make a pitch and they’ll hit and he knows now if I make a better pitch I could get out of this inning, instead of saying, ‘[Shoot], I’m going to throw it harder’ or whatever.”
Detwiler will have another chance to continue what’s been an impressive start to the season when he faces the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. Chances are they’ll see a lot of fastballs. If Detwiler’s first two starts of the season are any indication, chances are they’ll struggle.
“I’ve seen a maturation process right in front of us,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I like where he’s at, and he’s still growing, still learning.”
NOTE: Outfielders Denard Span and Bryce Harper were both out of the Nationals’ lineup Wednesday as they recovered from what they hoped was a 24-hour stomach flu.