Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Solis Shines While Strasburg Exits Early

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The Washington Nationals had numerous chances to erase a one run deficit against the Miami Marlins in the final seven innings of last night’s 2-1 loss. They did work the count against Mat Latos and the Miami bullpen as they drew six walks. That being said, the Nats could not get the clutch hit as they went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

The loss had to sting the Nationals, who had their three game win streak snapped as well as a chance to get back to the .500 mark on the season. Plus, one of the key members of their starting rotation left the game after the third inning after wincing during the early stages of the game.

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After the game was over, manager Matt Williams told the media that Strasburg has an issue with his shoulder blade, but it is not the worst case scenario as of right now as he is scheduled to get a look at it today from a chiropractor:

"Strasburg: “The best way I can put it: You’re driving a car fast over speed bumps. The irritation kind of rattles the cage a little bit.”"

— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) May 6, 2015

If Strasburg were to be out for a long period of time, which doesn’t seem to be the case right now according to MLB.com’s William Ladson, would Washington look to stretch out Tanner Roark and put him back in the rotation?

Roark has been valuable to the Nats in any role this season and while he did win 15 games last year, it would still take time to stretch him out to get him where he was a season ago. It could be easier to do that though with Casey Janssen possibly joining the bullpen in a couple of weeks.

Despite the frustrations from the offense (that was without Jayson Werth, who got the night off), there were some positives to take from this game. Let’s start with Doug Fister , who came into the game as a pinch hitter for Strasburg in the third inning. On a night where Washington struggled to find a hit at times, Fister ripped a single to right field that could have went for a double if not for a great play by Giancarlo Stanton.

The second positive is the combination of relievers who kept the Nats in the game. Sammy Solis, who made his second career appearance in the Major Leagues, held the Marlins offense to one hit over three innings. He has yet to give up a run in either of his two outings. He threw 30 of 44 pitches for strikes and was able to eat some innings for the bullpen, which was valuable when you consider Roark was unavailable after getting the save Monday night.

Then, the Nats turned to the late inning trio of Blake Treinen, Matt Thonrton, and Aaron Barrett. The three of them combined to give up one hit and strike out four batters. This included Treinen getting Marcell Ozuna to line out to right to end the 7th with Stanton on third and Barrett striking out Stanton with runners on the corners to end the 9th after a Dee Gordon triple and a Martin Prado hit by pitch.

All in all, the Nationals bullpen continues to improve, especially Barrett, who has not given up a run in his last five appearances and six of his last seven. Right now, he is the player that should be put in the high leverage situations, other than closer Drew Storen.

It was a rough night for the Nationals, but this is why they paid Max Scherzer the big bucks. Scherzer gets the start this afternoon against Tom Koehler as he tries to give the Nats their third straight series win. However, will the offense come alive? Keep in mind, in Scherzer’s three losses this season, he has been given only two runs of support.

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