Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang will get the start Sunday for the Washington Nationals against the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Davey Johnson confirmed the move before Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Johnson said that the decision to start Wang was made after Wednesday night’s game against Los Angeles. In that contest Wang entered in the fourth inning for starter John Lannan with Washington trailing 6-0. He proceeded to pitch 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball with one strikeout. The strong performance was impressive enough for Johnson to warrant giving Wang a chance to start.
Wang has made eight appearances for the Nationals this season with four of them being starts. A hamstring injury in spring training may have cost him a spot in the rotation at the beginning of the season. When he did become a member Wang suffered a strained hip injury which placed him on the disabled list in July. At the time he had made seven appearances with four starts. His record was 2-3 with a 7.16 earned run average.
Wang was scheduled to come off of the disabled list in August but had a relapse and was pulled from a minor league rehab assignment. He rejoined the team when rosters expanded on September 1. The Wednesday night appearance was Wang’s first since a June 30 relief stint.
It is not believed that Wang will become the fifth starter to replace Stephen Strasburg whose season was shut down after 159 1/3 innings pitched. Lannan is still penciled into the rotation, despite a poor outing against the Dodgers. Johnson simply said that Wang’s is nothing more than a spot start. The Nationals have clinched a playoff spot. It won’t hurt them too much to give Wang the ball for a game.
However it would be nice to have a healthy Wang just in case. He has three years of post season experience from pitching with the New York Yankees. His October record is 1-3 with a 7.58 ERA. Not the greatest of numbers, but a team can never have enough pitching going into October.
If Wang can contribute as a long reliever it would help the Nationals immensely. Though Washington has the best record in baseball their bullpen is suspect. Help from anyone would be appreciated.
For now, Wang will have to be content with getting a spot start. After ten long weeks of rehab he probably doesn’t mind.
Now the Nationals just need him to stay healthy.