WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson decided that right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will get the start against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon.
The Nationals need a starter for that day because they don't want right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to pitch on short rest. Zimmermann pitched Wednesday on seven days' rest because of a rain postponement the previous day.
Wang helped himself during a 7-6 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday by not allowing a run in 2 1/3 innings. It was Wang's first Major League appearance since June 30.
He did get off to a slow start in the game, however, throwing a wild pitch that allowed Shane Victorino to score and make it a 5-0 game. With two outs and Wang on the mound, Matt Kemp ended up scoring the sixth run for the Dodgers on a fielder's choice by Ramirez.
"I like the way Chien-Ming Wang threw [Wednesday]," Johnson said. "He had good sink. [I considered Craig] Stammen, but he has been invaluable [as a reliever]. If I start him, I kind of lose him two or three days before and probably two or three days after. I don't want to do that at this point. Chien-Ming, I like who he is, I like what he is all about. I like his competiveness. He has been in big games and, to me, all of these are big games. I think he will do a good job on Sunday."
Wang had two stints on the disabled list this year because of hamstring and hip injuries. After he recovered from the hip injury, Wang spent time rehabbing in the Minor Leagues. During his Major League stint, Wang is 2-3 with a 6.92 ERA in eight games.
Umpire apologizes to Johnson for missed call
WASHINGTON -- According to Nationals manager Davey Johnson, home-plate umpire Alan Porter apologized to him for the missed call in the fourth inning that cost Washington a run in a 7-6 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday.
With the Dodgers leading, 5-0, Chien-Ming Wang on the mound and two outs, Matt Kemp ended up scoring the sixth run on a fielder's choice by Hanley Ramirez.
On the replay, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman tagged Adrian Gonzalez before Kemp touched home plate, but Porter ruled that Kemp had already scored before the out was made.
That turned out to be a huge play in the game because the Nationals lost on a homer by Kemp in the top of the ninth inning after they rallied for six runs to tie it in the eighth.
Porter was not available for comment, but knew he made a bad call, according to Johnson. Porter apologized an inning later. Johnson said Porter thought the bases were loaded when there were actually runners on second and third. Porter then went to his fellow umpires to help him with the call.
"Alan said, 'I messed it up.' ... [The umpires] are good guys. I don't have a beef with them," Johnson said. "It's just sometimes when you miss one, you get help. He got help and they still didn't get it right. He just thought about the situation and then realized he wasn't thinking along those lines."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Nationals are only the fifth team -- the 1901-04 Cubs, 1906-09 Red Sox, 1981-84 Twins and 1994-97 Marlins are the others -- in modern Major League history (1901-present) to post three consecutive seasons winning 10 or more games than the year prior.
However, the Nationals are the first team in over 100 years to do so without the benefit of a deflated win total associated with a work stoppage. If you apply the Twins' winning percentage in 1981 and the Marlins' winning percentage in 1994 to a now-standard 162-game season, they would not come close to qualifying for this list.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.