Washington Nationals News: Felipe Rivero impressing in rookie campaign


Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s James Wagner discusses how Nationals reliever Felipe Rivero has impressed so far in his rookie campaign. As Wagner notes, Rivero has been especially impressive with his velocity and command.

A year after the Nationals acquired him from the Rays, Rivero has quickly turned into one of the most promising and electric young relievers in the bullpen. Rivero was originally a starter but the Nationals turned him into a full-time reliever this spring. As Wagner writes in his article, the change has worked wonders for the left-hander.

Rivero has thrown 18 1/3 innings for the big league club this season and boasts a 1.96 ERA and 19 strikeouts. His fastball regularly hits the high-90s and, because of his background as a starter, the Nationals can stretch him longer than other relievers. As Wagner notes, his slider is still a work in progress but it continues to improve and complements his fiery fastball well.

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While Rivero hasn’t been in the big leagues long, he’s holding his own against some of the game’s best hitters. And if he continues to succeed as a big league reliever, he could be in line to pitch more important innings down the stretch and in the postseason.

Also in today’s Daily, Wagner discusses another Nationals reliever who has been successful in 2015: left-hander Matt Thornton.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Felipe Rivero impressing with velocity, command

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Over the past month and a half, Felipe Rivero has gone from somewhat of an unknown to a capable fireballing left-handed reliever. The Nationals have long liked Rivero’s arm; they acquired him from Tampa Bay in the 2014 trade that brought Jose Lobaton to Washington. Rivero had been a starter much of his minor-league career, including last season, but struggled with health (elbow issues last season) and had iffy command (a career 2.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the minors).

This spring, the Nationals converted Rivero, healthy after battling elbow issues last season, into a full-time reliever. And he has blossomed. He has not only been impressive because of his arm (his fastball is averaging nearly 95 mph) but because his command has improved. Through 18 1/3 innings so far this season, he has allowed four runs, struck out 19 and walked only three. Read full article here.

Matt Thornton’s quiet production

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

The trade deadline is less than a week away and the Nationals have been linked to a handful of relievers on other teams. But quietly, within their own existing bullpen, one reliever has been productive in limited chances. Left-hander Matt Thornton has given up one run since June 12. He has allowed only one baserunner in seven outings since June 28.

Overall, Thornton has posted a 1.93 ERA with a 0.943 WHIP over 23 1/3 innings while pitching a bit differently this season. For a variety of reasons, Thornton’s fastball velocity is down from 95.1 mph last year to 93.6 mph this season. And as a result, he is using his fastball only 71.2 percent of the time, a career low. Instead, he has been using his slider more than before and split-finger the most since his rookie season. Read full article here.

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