Today, Chien-Ming Wang will take the mound for the Washington Nationals in game three of four in this series against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Nats needed someone to fill the spot after a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, and Wang got the call. It will be his first MLB start since June 19, which was a bit of a clunker. He hasn't had much success since then, even at the minor league level.
Wang will take on an extremely potent Brewers offense that scores the most runs per game of any team in the National League. Combine that with his "pitch-to-contact" stuff and ERA close to 7.00 in the majors this year and little success while rehabbing, it could be a very long day.
If Wang is able to keep his sinker down in the zone and work in his slider effectively, he has a chance to keep the Brewers bats at bay and help lower the Nats magic number. His sinker has averaged below 90 mph this season though, and if it isn't sinking at 90 mph or he's leaving the pitch up in the zone, he'll get knocked around the Park. That's the problem, or one of the problems, with pitchers that have "pitch-to-contact" stuff.
It's time to hope against all hope that Wang can have an anomaly of his 2012 season, and unfortunately an anomaly this year is a good start for the Taiwanese pitcher. Just remember, there's a very deep bullpen with a few long relievers, including Craig Stammen, Tom Gorzelanny, and Zach Duke, that can spell Wang if Davey detects disaster. It will be an interesting day at Nats Park, if nothing else. I hope you'll watch, despite this depressing post you've just read.