District Daily: Back-to-Back Walk-Offs, Nats Won’t Change Closers
By Kenny DeJohn
Aug 17, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Rafael Soriano (29) throws during the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a great time to be a fan of the Washington Nationals, as they went 6-0 last week culminating in two walk-off wins. Find out their latest goings on below.
Nats notch back-to-back walk-off wins vs. Bucs
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WASHINGTON — Jayson Werth hadn’t seen live pitching in a week. But with the Nationals trailing the Pirates by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday night, manager Matt Williams called on the right-handed slugger as a pinch-hitter with the game on the line.
Werth, who sat out five straight games entering Sunday because of a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, came through with a one-out walk on five pitches, and he eventually came around to score the tying run on Asdrubal Cabrera‘s RBI single to right. He stayed in the game during extra innings, taking his regular spot in right field for the first time since Aug. 10.
And in the bottom of the 11th, Werth one-upped himself with the biggest hit of the night when he drove a 2-2 sinker from reliever Brandon Cumpton off the left-field wall for a leadoff double. After Denard Span advanced Werth to third with a groundout, pinch-hitter Scott Hairston — the last man remaining on the Nationals’ bench beside backup catcher Jose Lobaton — skied a sacrifice fly to deep left field that propelled the Nationals to a 6-5 victory over the Pirates at Nationals Park. Read full article here.
Nationals don’t plan on changing closers
WASHINGTON — After Rafael Soriano‘s recent struggles continued with a blown save in the Nationals’ 6-5 win over the Pirates on Sunday, manager Matt Williams gave his veteran closer a vote of confidence.
“He’s been our closer all year, and I don’t see that changing as of right now,” Williams said.
With Soriano having pitched four of the past five days during a six-game winning streak, Williams did leave the door open for giving him some rest should another save opportunity arise in Monday night’s series opener against the D-backs.
The Nats have plenty of other experienced options, with right-handers Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen both having closed in recent years. Williams also named lefty Matt Thornton as a possibility. Read full article here.
Span hasn’t heard from Nats on ’15 option
WASHINGTON — Nationals center fielder Denard Span is putting together a career year. He’s on pace to break his single-season marks in stolen bases, doubles and hits, all while posting his first .300 campaign since 2009. Still, the leadoff man’s future in Washington remains uncertain.
Span is eligible to become a free agent after this season if the Nationals opt not to pick up his $9 million option for 2015. And as of Sunday afternoon, Span said there’s yet to be any dialogue between him and the front office regarding next year. Meanwhile, general manager Mike Rizzo declined to comment on the situation.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Span said. “If I had to guess, I probably would say I wouldn’t hear anything until the season’s over.” Read full article here.