Ross Detwiler's role with the Nationals is about to get more prominent, with Stephen Strasburg scheduled to make only one more start before the club shuts him down for the season.
Fortunately for Washington, Detwiler (9-6, 3.15 ERA) has excelled this season and come on particularly strong of late, with a 3.00 ERA in 13 starts since he rejoined the rotation. He will take the mound against fellow left-hander Mark Buehrle and the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park in the second of a three-game series.
In the view of Washington manager Davey Johnson, Detwiler's best may be yet to come.
The 26-year-old, who has set a career high with 22 starts, throws his breaking ball only 13 percent of the time, relying heavily on his fastball and sinker. But in tossing seven scoreless innings against the Cubs on Monday, Detwiler used his breaking stuff to escape from a couple of jams.
"His fastball still has the tremendous sink," Johnson said afterward. "He pitched more up than I would have liked to see him. Early on, he tried to use the breaking ball and he used a couple of changeups. He is just getting better. He is real confident. When he starts using all his weapons, it's going to be easier on him."
The Nationals had won five straight and eight of nine before the Marlins captured Friday's opener for their second straight victory. Washington still has gone 5-2 against Miami at home this season.
Buehrle will pitch against the Nats for the third time in his career, all this season. In his Nationals Park debut on Aug. 4, he gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings.
Buehrle saw his three-game winning streak snapped on Sunday against the Mets, who got a first-inning grand slam from Jason Bay and scored five in the opening frame. Buehrle rebounded after that, holding New York without another run through the seventh.
"You just realize you have to settle down," he said. "If you have any chance of coming back, you can't give up many more. You just try to go out there and try to eat up innings."
Marlins: A second home for Stanton
• It shouldn't have been a big surprise when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton smacked an RBI double in the first inning and added a solo home run in the third inning of Friday's series opener. After all, Stanton has been a menace at Nationals Park throughout his young career.
Friday's performance pushed the 22-year-old's career totals at Washington to nine homers and 18 RBIs, both highs for any road stadium. He has hit safely in 16 of his 18 games there, including seven of his past eight, with a career .394 average.
• Stanton reached another milestone with his latest homer, a shot to right-center field off Strasburg. The roundtripper was his 87th, moving him past Jimmie Foxx and tying him with Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey Jr. for the sixth most all-time before a player's 23rd birthday. Stanton won't turn 23 until November.
Nationals: Zimmerman keeps streak going
• Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman tripled and homered on Friday, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. During that span, he has gone 17-for-53 (.321) with three doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBIs.
The streak is the latest chapter of a surge Zimmerman has been riding since he received a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder on June 24. From that point on, he has hit .338 with 21 doubles, 16 homers and 56 RBIs in 68 games.
• Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang impressed Johnson during a pregame bullpen session on Friday, the latest step in his return from a right hip injury.
Wang has a 7.61 ERA in seven games for the Nationals this season and a 5.51 ERA in 15 Minor League appearances, but Johnson said the bullpen was, "the best I've seen him since the spring." Wang likely will work in a relief role, with John Lannan taking over Strasburg's rotation spot.
• Detwiler has held the Marlins to three runs on nine hits in 13 2/3 innings this season, split between two starts and one relief appearance. He has struck out 12 and walked three.