Washington Nationals: Sammy Solis Back In The Bullpen

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Aug 12, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sammy Solis (36) throws to the Atlanta Braves during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sammy Solis (36) throws to the Atlanta Braves during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Washington Nationals activated left-handed reliever Sammy Solis from the DL before tonight’s game against Arizona

Before tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Washington Nationals added another key piece to their bullpen. They activated left-hander Sammy Solis, who has not pitched in a Major League game since August 15 because of left shoulder inflammation:

This season, the 28-year-old has a 2.35 ERA in 34 games and has 44 strikeouts to 20 walks in 38.1 innings. One of the things that Solis does well is his ability to pitch to lefties and righties. Left-handed hitters are hitting .200 against Solis with four RBI’s while righties are hitting .232 with one home run and six RBI’s.

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With the Washington Nationals playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, Dusty Baker should look to get as many left-handers on the postseason roster as he can. In 2016, the Dodgers are hitting .215 against lefties (worst in baseball) with 37 home runs (tied for tenth in the National League).

Solis struggled in the month of July when he went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and opponents were hitting .320 in eight appearances. In the two months prior to July, opponents hit below .200 and he gave up only three runs in 24 innings.

Last month, the Washington Nationals traded for Marc Rzepczynski from the Oakland Athletics to add another left-hander. With Rzepczynski, Solis, and Oliver Perez, the Nats have three lefties they can throw at the Dodgers in the NLDS.

When Solis takes the mound, he is a three-pitch pitcher. He has an average velocity of about 94 miles per hour (according to Fangraphs) to go with a curveball and changeup. This season, his curveball has yielded 27 of his 44 strikeouts (according to Brooks Baseball).

For a manager such as Baker who likes to mix-and-match with his bullpen, Solis is a good fit to use for multiple hitters in the middle innings. It will be interesting to watch how Solis is used in these final two series against the Diamondbacks and the Miami Marlins.

Next: What Is Drew's Role This Postseason?

During the second half, this bullpen has made some changes with the trades for Rzepczynski and closer Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Also, the team released their former closer, Jonathan Papelbon. Now, Solis being back feels like another late season trade deadline move that will bring more depth to the bullpen.

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