If the measure of an ace is their ability to come in and completely dominate a game for his team when they need it most, then Ross Detwiler was certainly the Nats’ ace last night. The 27-year-old starter came up big in the club’s 6-1 win, pitching seven innings, allowing just one earned run, and no walks, while striking out five batters.

This is the Ross Detwiler we expected when he was drafted sixth overall in 2007. The lefty found success by relentlessly attacking the strike zone with a combination of two seam and four seam fastballs. In total, Detwiler threw 107 pitches, 80 of which were strikes, resulting in a total of 14 groundball outs. He now stands at 1-0 on the season, with a miniscule 0.90 ERA through three starts.

Helping charge the Nats offense last night was a stomach-flu battling Bryce Harper, who, despite vomiting several times in the clubhouse during the game, managed to go 4 for 5 with a double, run, RBI and an infield hit. The 20-year-old is now pacing the Nats with a .364 average, five home runs, and 11 RBI.

Some Thoughts:

-       It is clear that Ross Detwiler has bloomed under pitching coach Steve McCatty’s tutelage. The traits McCatty emphasizes to his pitchers are mental toughness, courage, and attacking the strike zone, which are all clearly embodied in Detwiler’s approach to the game.

-       Steve Lombardozzi is making the most of his opportunity to fill in for an injured Danny Espinosa. Last night he went 2-5 with an RBI, and has recorded two hits in the past three consecutive games.

-       Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth, despite it not being a save situation. The right-hander hadn’t pitched since he earned the save against the Chicago White Sox April 11. This marked the first appearance since April 1 where he allowed no base runners.

-       Kurt Suzuki was just a single and a double shy of the cycle, as the catcher recorded a rare triple in the first inning, and a homer in the second. He also provided the Nats a sacrifice fly in the game. The triple was his first since 2010 with the Oakland A’s.