Team USA & Nationals Pitchers

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Tonight, Team USA will play its first game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. It is exciting, as the United States has long been considered to be the premier baseball country of the world. This should not come as too much of a surprise, people come from all over the world in hopes of making it in Major League Baseball. Japan, Taiwan, Curacao, Venezuela, and too many other countries to name all have a player or two in Major League baseball. That being said, Team USA will battle some tough and proven opponents. What is exciting about the 2013 WBC and Team USA is that they have a helping hand from the Washington Nationals.

In years past, it would be difficult to see a lot of players from the Nationals make it onto the WBC’s team USA roster. In 2013, the Nationals have representatives Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler. The two Nationals representatives join an all-star cast of characters, including David Wright, Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Braun, and many, many other highly talented players. Having both Gio and Detwiler on the USA roster says a lot about their talents and abilities and how good the Nationals pitching staff is. A simple look at the roster will tell you that the players Joe Torre picked were the best of the best. To have some of D.C.’s own hand-picked to represent the greatest country in the world is a compliment to the players as well as to what the organization has done to put together not only an excellent pitching staff, but an excellent roster overall.

There is some debate, though over having pitchers in the WBC. Pitchers get hurt, it is a fact of baseball and one the Nationals are rather familiar with. Both Detwiler and Gio are coming off some of their best seasons as starting pitchers. 2012 was the first full year that Detwiler was both fully healthy and performed as well as he did. There were a lot of injuries that have hampered his career to this point, but that is not necessarily indicative of what we can expect of him in the future. Should there always be an eye out for Detwiler’s health? Of course, as with any pitcher. Take into account, though that the WBC has rules in place to protect pitchers, such as pitch limits. Given that in the first round of the WBC pitchers are limited to 60 pitches, a guy like Detwiler is essentially going from spring training camp to a more competitive version of spring training. As the WBC goes on, the pitch limits will expand, much like they do in spring training. Such rules will help to reduce fatigue and lessen negative impacts on pitchers. Think of it this way, if a Detwiler or Gio get hurt in the WBC, who is to say they wouldn’t have been hurt in spring training? Anything could happen, but having them with Team USA is a big plus for both the WBC and Team USA.

There is also the pride of being able to represent your home country that should be taken into account. If a guy on any team gets the call from a manager in the WBC, what would be the reason to say no? Of all the players in the world, only a select few get to compete at the Major League level. Of that group, an even smaller number get to compete while wearing the team USA jersey on a stage in front of the entire world. Any competitor would want that opportunity; it is an incredible honor to Gio and Detwiler to have the chance to prove themselves to the world.

Team USA has an outstanding roster with great talent, and that should make watching them in the WBC a lot of fun. With Gio and Detwiler lending a helping hand to an already stacked team, it figures to be a fun competition where Team USA could go quite far. So sit back and enjoy, Nationals fans. It will be some good competitive baseball.

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