Washington Nationals pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) won against the Atlanta Braves in his season debut on Friday.
Going in as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning, after starting pitcher Ross Detwiler gave up three runs, five hits and four walks in 4-1/3 innings, Wang gave up only one run in three innings, leading the Nationals to a 7-4 victory over the Braves.
The Nationals led the match from the start, taking four runs off Braves pitcher Tom Hudson in the first inning, which gave Detwiler a good start.
However, Detwiler’s performance was shaky, and when Wang took over in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Braves had runners on first and second.
The Braves’ Matt Diaz made a hit on Wang’s first pitch, giving the Braves a double.
During the sixth and seventh innings, Wang gave away only one hit and no run to eight Braves batters, while the Nationals managed three runs in the seventh inning.
Ryan Zimmerman delivered the key hit, a bases-clearing double that led the Nationals to the win and gave the Braves their fifth consecutive loss.
The Braves’ Jason Heyward hit a home run in the eighth inning.
Detwiler threw 100 pitches in his 4-1/3 innings, giving up five hits and three runs, while Wang only had to throw 27 pitches, only giving away three hits and 1 run. His fastest pitch was 151kph, and most of his pitches exceeded 145kph. His average was 3.0.
On March 16, when Wang went on as starting pitcher against his old team, the New York Yankees, during spring training, he hurt his leg and was replaced by Detwiler, who took over Wang’s spot as No. 5 in the starting pitcher rotation.
Detwiler performed well, putting pressure on Wang and postponing his return to the field. Lately, Detwiler’s performance has deteriorated, and in the past three games, he gave up 14 runs and lost two games, pushing his average up to 3.64.
This made Friday’s game an important indicator of Wang’s chances of taking Detwiler’s spot in the rotation.
The win was Wang’s 60th in major league baseball, and he maintained good speed and ball control, which should improve his chances of taking over as starting pitcher from Detwiler.
Translated by Perry Svensson