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Werth fights through pain to help Nats win

Aug 17, 2014, 10:22 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

[Updated 11:10 p.m.]

Hampered by AC joint inflammation in his right shoulder, Jayson Werth had been out recovering for seven days before coming off the bench in the Nats’ win over the Pirates on Sunday night. He had a cortisone shot three days prior and hadn’t swung a bat against live pitching in a week.

On Friday it looked like he would return to the lineup on Sunday, but then he felt pain during a batting practice session. Not so fast, he wasn’t quite ready.

Then the circumstances of Sunday’s game unfolded, as the Nats went down early to the Pittsburgh Pirates to later take a 4-2 lead, before a blown save by closer Rafael Soriano helped send the teams to extra innings. As the game seesawed back and forth, Werth picked up a bat and headed to the indoor batting cage at Nationals Park.

Werth took swings to test his shoulder and came out during the ninth inning to talk to manager Matt Williams. The skipper, however, told him he would not be used.

But then Soriano let it slip away, and before the bottom of the ninth began, Werth again picked up his bat.

“When the game tied up, I went back down there and swung again and felt like if I had to, I could make a difference,” he said.

The Nationals’ entered the bottom of the ninth down 5-4 after Soriano allowed three runs to come across. Werth again walked up to Williams, this time with better luck.

“I came back out, told him I was available and the situation came up and they used me.”

After Michael Taylor struck out to lead off against Mark Melancon, Werth stepped to the plate to an emphatic ovation from the 34,430 in attendance.

Werth would draw a walk and then move to third on a single by Denard Span. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled to right field to score Werth and tie the game at 5-5.

“He was getting loose all game, so we kept monitoring him,” Williams said. “Two-run lead, we’re not gonna use him if we don’t have to. But we had to. And it paid dividends, again.”

Werth would remain in the game in right field as a replacement for Taylor. He would also get another chance at the plate two innings later.

Leading off the 11th inning against Brandon Cumpton, Werth laced a double off the wall in left field. Hitting balls the other way has been an issue for him lately, as that can make his shoulder act up. Getting a ball to pull was the best-case scenario.

Werth also shortened his swing to ease the pain. He compared it to an adjustment me made in 2012 before he returned off the DL from a broken wrist.

Span followed by grinding out a six-pitch at-bat to move Werth to third on a groundball. That set up a pinch-hit situation for Scott Hairston with one out. Hairston would deliver with a flyball to left field, giving Werth plenty of breathing room to score on a sacrifice.

Werth made it home easily to give the Nats the 6-5 win, their second walk-off victory in as many days. Hairston himself was impressed with Werth’s willingness to come in at less than 100 percent.

“Jayson, we’re so used to seeing him be clutch like that,” Hairston said. “That was huge. He showed a lot of leadership today.”

Now comes the question of when Werth can make a full return. The Nats are in the middle of a season-high six-game winning streak, but they could use his help. Sunday was a dramatic reminder of that.

“There’s a lot at stake here this season, and I want to be a part of it,” he said. “I felt it was worth the risk tonight. In a game like that, I wanted to keep the streak going and win a game. So I went for it.”

112 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Look at BJ Upton with another error and he doesn’t hustle after the ball and Fuld gets into 3rd standing up.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      That is worth a boo. Not the error. The non hustle after the error.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        He is so pathetic. Can’t believe he still starts.

  2. David Proctor - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Ian Desmond ‏@IanDesmond20 24s
    Soriano has pitched his butt off for us all year. I’d take him in the 9th any day of the week. All the booing tonight was ridiculous.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      Ian is supposed to say that… That’s his teammate…

      • Section 222 - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        Well sure he’s a teammate. But it’s a tweet. He didn’t have to say it. He could have stayed silent. It’s not like an interview where he has to make some kind of answer.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:36 AM

        Personally, I expected Desi to say something… As he is one of the more vocal leaders of the team… Maybe he was asked about and we don’t know… But I think if he/ or any player didnt address it, that would have made bigger discussion… As I said below, you read how people come up with some of the most interesting theories (Sori doesn’t care, his teammates don’t like him, and some of the other stuff we have read)… Imagine a tomorrow (if the Nats had lost) what people would be saying…

        Just my thoughts…. Either way it’s water under the bridge, since the Nats ended up winning and playing afun and eventful game…

    • coop202 - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Agree with Ian. Sori deserves better

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        Agree Coop. We can all be pissed but he doesn’t deserve to be boo’d.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        Good for Desi. And Mrs.b, I don’t think Desmond should have to say it. The team is just that, a team. The team is giving us a great season. Boo one member of the team at the stadium and you are booing the team.So of course a teammate calls people to task for it.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        Desi is absolutely right in defending his team mate… Some people get worked up over the booing like they do the wave.. People are entitled to express dismay over something… I don’t care 1 way or the other… And people will continue to boo when something they pay to see isn’t what they think it should…

        It is what it is… But had no one said addressed the booing, people would have mentioned that.. ‘See no one defended Sori and the booing…. I told you his team mates don’t like him.. Blah blah blah.’ I mean you read the blogs and you see how people say that Sori doesn’t care etc and how people make outlandish comments about how his teammates don’t like him (remember when Werth caught the alsmost he and people swore that Werth was disgusted with Soriano etc…

        As I said earlier, Idc about people booing… People are entitled to do what they want to do and it doesn’t make anyone else more or less a fan…

      • Section 222 - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:31 AM

        I agree with Mrs. B about booing. People were upset about the blown save. They express their frustration. It comes with the territory. If it’s not your style to boo, then don’t boo. But this obsession with booing when people here express their frustration in very personal and vindictive terms is kind of funny.

        On the other hand, as I commented above, Desi’s view was expressed in a tweet. He didn’t have to say that. So clearly the booing bothered Sori’s teammates. That’s good to hear. They aren’t going to turn on him, just like teammates don’t turn on Espi or other players who fail at the plate. They’ll leave the criticism to us.

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        A while back NY fans were making fun of Bartolo Colon, and he was getting the boo bird. His teammates stepped up and publicly supported him. Now, I don’t know anything about him except what’s obvious (the weight and the PEDs and the pitching record, he’s got a pretty good record). But when after that happened he turned his season around.

        Could be coincidence, he’s a good pitcher. But it could also be that the support of his teammates meant a lot to him in the face of NY media and fans.

        We saw in this series that the Nats are a team. One has a bad day, two make an error, the team’s got their back.
        I doubt it’s “mental,” but I expect Sori could be tired or a little injured. I would not be surprised if Matty gives Soriano a break for a week or so and Storen closes a couple of games. I also will not be surprised when Soriano closes playoff games–assuming we get there, of course.

      • Drew - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        I was at the game — my first this year — and yes, I booed Soriano.

        I made a six hour round trip and paid for my ticket and food. I don’t think it’s out of bounds to boo a particularly poor performance. (And I’m glad Desmond stuck up for his teammate.)

        Look at it this way. We do have quality fans. We visited coordially with the Pirate fan families sitting around us on the subway and out in right field — expressing admiration for their past greats, their beautiful ballpark, the incandescent McCutcheon. We praised their outfielder’s dandy catch Sunday.

        So, our fans don’t curse our players or the opposition. We certainly don’t boo reflexively.

        But does that mean those of us out in right field may not do anything to express displeasure about a performance Chase called so UGLY that he put it in all caps?

        That makes for a pretty antiseptic experience.

        Anybody who has been married for awhile knows that a rare argument or scolding doesn’t mean you don’t love each other.

        So, leave the seat up, Rafael.

        And GYFNG!

  3. Section 222 - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Watching the A’s vs. Braves game, and it’s just plain boring compared to what I just saw at Nats Park. From the 6th inning on was some of the craziest, most exciting baseball I’ve ever witnesses. The crowd was totally into it. Playoff atmosphere for sure.

    Reading some comments on the game thread and this one, I’m glad to see many converts to my longstanding view that when a closer doesn’t have it, you should pull him before he blows the save if that’s possible. You all know that I admire Soriano and think he gets a raw deal from a lot of commentators. But I abhor the “cult of the closer” that leads managers leave a guy in the game who is not getting it done. Thornton was warm (I don’t know if anyone noticed that he was warming with Soriano before the inning started) and a left handed batter (Polanco) was coming up. MW waited one batter too long and we paid the priced. We’ll see if the painful lesson he learned tonight affects his future strategic decisions.

    But enough of that. That was an amazing game, with lots of heros — Span and Cabrera getting clutch hits. Hairston finally coming through. Frandsen with great hustle and smart baserunning to score in the 7th. Werth off the bench (the crowd’s response to his coming up in the 9th was unbelievable — everyone was thinking Game 4 there.) Det with two solid innings in extras, and of course, that spectacular web gem DP in the 8th. O. M. G.

    This team has something special. There were many places where we could have folded, and we didn’t. It was a joy to watch them today.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Let’s see what kimbrel does.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM

      Kimbrel’s pitches on the black with movement and 98. To batter 1

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Kimbrel is doing what we wanted Soriano to do keeping guys off base not hitting them

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      You aren’t the only one who ashores the ‘pitchers own innings’ or ‘cult of closer’ as you like to call it…. And we’ve seen a few times before where MW has left Soriano in for a batter too long… It doesn’t seem as if MW learned his lesson yet and he’s had a few opportunities… I just hope something clicks when it’s October…

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        Sometimes he can get out of it. When they get cheap hits, when they are not getting cheap hits, then it is time for replacement.

    • hokiereron - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Nailed it. Awesome effort. No quit in these guys!

    • llf0701 - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:29 AM

      I agree with you about the “cult of the closer” I think he was left in the game way too long. As far as booing, I personally think it is uncalled for – but I speak from the perspective of a teacher :) who is all about role models. One of the reasons I LOVE the Nats,and the atmosphere in the stadium, is the behavior of the fans. But again, I speak from my perspective of a teacher! I feel bad when anyone gets boo’d!
      BEST game ever. Wish I had been there!

  4. manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    If Werth needs the day off, give Taylor another game

  5. Section 222 - Aug 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Kimbrel touches that pine tar on his cap before almost every pitch. Pineda got suspended for that, didn’t he?

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      His was on his body. Putting on the hat seems passible.

      Lester pitches great til he is in a game I care about.

      A’s offense has been terrible since the trade deadline. They seem to not improved their team.

      Angels will probably win the division.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      2’s, you think that is pine tar on his cap? I don’t think so.

      • Section 222 - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        What do you think it is? Has to be some foreign substance, doesn’t it? Natural discoloration? Right in that spot where he touches? Really?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:03 AM

        They claim it’s sweat and rosin if you Google it.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        According to Kimbrel and the league, it’s discoloration… Ramos had the same thoughts/discussion with a blue in the braves/Nats game a couple days ago..

        Kimbrel has worn that hat all the time and from the licking his fingers and grabbing it, he says the color rubs off, etc..

        And remember MW declined to comment on the issue….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        I think what got people wondering is that the discoloration just seemed to show up one day and had a shine to it. It didn’t have the look of “wet”. Wouldn’t surprise me if they just rubbed bleach on it to make it look that way.

        Plenty of guys like Hanley put pine tar on their helmets to give it that look.

        So long as Kimbrel isn’t adding a foreign substance that can juice a baseball, I guess it’s OK.

  6. realdealnats - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Booing Soriano was poor form tonight, and I’ve been one of those critics. Not saying anything else except he didn’t deserve boos after what he’s done this season and he worries me every time he steps on that rubber. But what a game! These guys are rolling. Werth was inspirational.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      As with other sports, it’s moreso what have you done for me lately… And Sori since AS break has been…. Interesting….

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Baseball is a such a funny sport…. Braves just swept the A’s…

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      We have trouble with both.

      Bucks can start a sweep tomorrow.

  8. manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Price of Cincinatti was actually slow. Chapman walked 4 before taken out. 4 up 16 balls

  9. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Wow, Chapman…. Wow….

  10. manassasnatsfan - Aug 17, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    Huston Street faces 4 and all 4 made base to win.

    MwW manages just like all these guys. They let the closer drown.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Take of 2 halves…

    Sori’s babip is like .366 since the AS break… Pre AS is 205

    1st Half: 37 IP, 0.97 ERA, .158 AVG, 19 H, 11 BB, 0.81 WHIP
    2nd Half: 11.1 IP 5.56 ERA, .313 AVG, 15 H 3 BB, 1.59 WHIP

    I know, historically, his July/August is kinda down… Kinda like Clippard is down in April/May… Maybe Sori is tired… Either way, I hope he gets back to pre AS break soon… Overall, he has been tremendous…

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      Good research, Mrs. B. I hope he’s able to turn it around.

  12. breakbad1 - Aug 18, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    I disagree with Desi. But he’s on the team and I’m not. I’m going to support him all the way.

    I have never booed a Nats player and I’m not going to start now.

    • llf0701 - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:32 AM


  13. scmargenau - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:32 AM

    Werth up there looking like a wear wolf in London…man that was awesome. The walk and double gave me goose bumps. Mr clutch.

    “He’ll tear your lungs out Jim”

  14. rabbit433 - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    Werth is such a hero!

  15. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 18, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    It’s a question of efficient use of the bullpen. First, Williams has to bring in Soriano at the beginning of the inning because you know he’s going to add his baserunners to whatever baserunners are already on base. Second, if you seriously entertain the possibility that he’s going to get into such a jam you want to pull him, you have to start warming up Thornton (because Clippard, Storen have already been used) almost immediately, meaning he’s pitching a parallel inning in the bullpen — just as if he were throwing in the game — even if he might not be used/needed. This bears on Thornton’s availability the next day and maybe even further down the road. If you wait until Soriano has loaded the bases with one out to start Thornton in the BP (A) he doesn’t have time to warm up; (B) assuming he succeeds there’s every possibility you have to pinch hit in the bottom of the inning, or bring in yet another pitcher anyway after Thornton has pitched to only one or two batters.

    Even though it would be ideal to have an instant-ready reliever to replace a struggling Soriano (or any other closer) it really isn’t practicable. Williams has to assume Soriano will do his job even if things are trending badly. I said last night Soriano looked tired, without even focusing on the fact that this was his fourth time out in five days. At this point in the season the best course would be for Williams to be more creative in how he uses the other closer-type arms in his bullpen.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      I agree you can’t have a reliever warming just because you don’t trust your closer–or you do trust him but you are worried about him because of four appearances in five days. In this case, however, Thornton was already close to ready, because he’d warmed earlier along side Clip, presumably to come in for the 8th if the Nats were down or tied. The Nats got the three runs in the bottom of the seventh–sort of unexpectedly (I’m being polite) and Matty went into Clip/Sori mode, but as it happened he had the backup available sooner than he used him.

    • adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      Well put, TS. And this explains why, as noted above, Chapman walked four before getting pulled, and Street allowed four straight guys to reach base before getting pulled.

      And that’s why I reject the comment: MwW manages just like all these guys. They let the closer drown.

      Often a closer will let guys get on base, and then get out of the inning. Sometimes guys get on base just because of lucky BABIP, or a single bad pitch.

  16. micksback1 - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Good morning ladies, gentlemen and other gentle things….

    What a weekend, beer and 2 come from behind wins in sec 110!! OK, I did not boo Soriano, seriously ,i did not, I actually felt bad for him being there live. My fellow fans were pissed! I m actually pretty calm when i am at the game live,

    I really like Michael Taylor. We all felt that Werth was going to get on base in the 11th. Interesting though, many were upset when Hairston came up to hit, but boy did he prove many wrong.

    Again, playoff atmosphere, had butterflies in my stomach (could have been the 10 plus brews?) but this is exciting. I would have loved to have seen the looks on Barves fans in Turner Field when the final was announced.
    However, give it to Barves, they swept the best team in the AL.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:39 AM

      “The best team in the A”L got knocked out of first place.

      Regarding Taylor, it’s still way to early to make any solid judgements, in my opinion. So far he looks totally overmatched against anybody that throws anything other than a fastball to him, and sometimes even then. He went back to his instinctive long swing a couple of times this week. In RF I didn’t fault him for playing that ball hit to shallow right safely in the situation, but I was mildly surprised that he did.It was probably the best way to play it. He hasn’t shown the arm that he is said to have yet. He is obviously a stand up young man with all of the tools, but whether he can get them all to work on a ML level? It is still awful early to tell.

      • micksback1 - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:42 AM


        I totally agree with your assessment. What I really like about Taylor is his attitude and usually that brings success. You are correct on his mechanics.

      • 6ID20 - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        Bears a lot of resemblance to Justin Maxwell.

    • adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Interesting though, many were upset when Hairston came up to hit

      Well, yeah . . . his previous five consecutive PH appearances all ended in K’s!

      • micksback1 - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        I know what you mean, what I should have added was that the natives were really restless after Soriano’s disaster and were for the first time in the past 2 days all over MW when Hairston came up. I was surprised at the cat calls towards MW only because I had not heard any up until then.

        Our town is getting excited for a playoff run!

  17. positivelyhalfst - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    The magic number for winning the NL East is now 34. The magic number for clinching a wild card spot is 36.

  18. Doc - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    Small point in a glorious victory, but why did Espi replace Cabrera, particularly after Asdrubral’s big hit?

    Espi came up to bat in the next time around, and was batting from his weak left side.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:29 AM

      It was part of the double switch that got Werth into the game.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:31 AM

      Matty knew he might need Detwiler for more than one inning and his spot would have been due up in the bottom of the 10th if he didn’t make a double switch. It was a good move.

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Trevor Rosenthal was also pulled last night. Mamess came in and got the Save.

    Like I said Chapman was pulled with a 3 run lead and no outs and bases loaded but Hoover couldn’t get it done.

    Something has to change in DC. You need to pull your closer when you know they don’t have it. That’s MWs call. I think Soriano let it get away from him at the point of the Wild Pitch. That left a 1 run lead and a man on 2nd. That’s the furthest I let him go although in a Playoff game I pull him when that liner goes off LaRoche’s glove to work with a 2 run lead and men on 1st and 3rd.

    I like that term Cult Of The Closer. Yesterday took a crazy turn in the Majors. 3 closers yanked in 1 day.

    • natinalsgo - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:52 AM

      “You need to pull your closer when you know they don’t have it”

      Ghost, you rarely never know until it’s too late. It was not great to put the leadoff man on via HBP when he had him in a 2-2 count and I would not call that as don’t have it. He gets a line drive right at ALR and he couldn’t handle the liner which goes for a single. Is that the point or is it at the Wild Pitch.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        True. I think the better word is “think”.

        It could be my imagination but it seems of late that Matty has had another reliever warming alongside Soriano for almost every Save lately.

        That gives Matty the opportunity to pull Sori had almost any time.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        Most everybody on here knows that I stick up for Soriano, sometimes to a fault. That said, I didn’t think he should’ve come into the game at all last night. He has looked worn down the past several appearances ,(even the Thurs game when he had a 1-2-3 inning),but none more so the an Friday night. I was actually surprised that either Storen, or Thornton wasn’t used. And I thought he should’ve been pulled before the first run scored. He had nothing working. It happens sometimes.

        I also stick up, or at least accept the way it is, when it comes to Matt Williams’ aggressive baserunning style, but I thought Denard Span was dead meat on the play he scored from 3rd on. It was nothing but dumb luck that the Pirate’s 3B made a lousy throw to the plate.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Huston Street also blew a save.

      FWIW, I have no problem at all with having a Closer. It’s no different than having a starting rotation where a guy only has to pitched every fifth day. Why five? Why not six or four? Why five innings to “qualify” for the win?

      My point is, guys have their jobs, they are hired for those jobs (or assigned those jobs in Spring Training) and unless there is some extreme contingency, they don’t change jobs mid-season (see Detwiler, Ross).

      Trevor Rosenthal probably shouldn’t be a closer. He’s been shaky all season, and the original decision to put him in that role was questionable (he could just as easily be a starter, and he was a fine setup man). St. Louis, for all their vaunted “young” pitching, got themselves into a box.

      As for Chapman, Huston and Soriano–they ARE closers. That’s their job. Desi’s job is to be our shortstop and you aren’t taking him off it because he makes a few errors. (See Zimmerman, Ryan–who last time I checked went back to third base because that’s his job and the team was configured with Ryan as the third baseman).

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:07 AM

        You were doing fine until you compared a Closer to your starting shortstop. Relievers and pitchers in general just can’t be compared apples to apples to starting position players.

        I have no problem at all with having a person called the Closer, but I don’t think it’s owned just like calling a starter your #1 if he’s pitching like a #4 like Strasburg. You move him into the slot best suited for him.

        Soriano is struggling. He’s a reliever. He could have arm fatigue. Fastball is straight and touching 91 and slider isn’t sliding. We saw this recently with Stammen. MW laid off of him for a while. Maybe that’s the solution with Soriano.

      • jd - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:09 AM


        I agree. Having said that I had a bad premonition last night based on overwork and several shaky outings in the past couple of weeks. I really thought Soriano would be rested for 3 days or so and I think it’s still a good idea now.

        Having said that I don’t agree that there’s something terribly wrong in how MW manages the pen. I think it’s serious over reaction to blown saves which happen. You take the overall success and you live with the occasional failure, that’s life in baseball.

      • jd - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM


        I think yesterday was an example where MW should have rested Soriano for more than 1 day. I don’t think anyone disagrees with you strongly on this. Generally speaking though once you bring in your closer you normally stay with him unless he starts walking everyone like Chapman did. Soriano could have gotten out of it if ALR holds on to the shot by Snider but all in all he didn’t have the look and feel of someone who was going to get out of it.

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:55 AM

        I’m dinging MW on the 9th yesterday, but only because Thornton was ready and should have come in sooner.

        Yes, he COULD have used Storen to start the innings, but he was trying to stay away from him. So I expect Storen to close if we need saves in the DBacks series (which I sincerely hope we DON’T, those Buccos played tough. A lot harder sweeping them than the Mets…).

        If a lefty was up first, I wouldn’t be averse to Matty using Blevins to get the lefty and then putting Sori in. He did that a couple of times when Clip was tired, simply to help with pitchcount. However, Marte is a RHB.

  20. lovedanats - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    My voice is still hoarse from all the yelling at the game last night (but no booing. C’mon, you don’t boo your own players!)
    Exciting game. Glad about the outcome. MW needed to take Sori out sooner. Hopefully, Soriano bounces back. For me, however, he had become the scariest closer since Hanrahan.

    • natinalsgo - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:53 AM

      I was there. You had groans, moans for the background noise of BOOOOOOOOOOOO. It sounded like it was the whole stadium. It was not.

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        No, it wasn’t the whole stadium. First of all, there were lots of Pirates fans there. 😉

        Seriously, it wasn’t. It was more than a smattering, but it was brief, and, really, just venting. (I didn’t boo).

        The guy who sits next to me is a BIG Pirates fan (though he wears Nats gear except this weekend). He was in a sour mood coming into the game, naturally. He and his gf left when it was 4-2. I said, it’s not over. He said, “They’re never scoring two runs.”

        Probably better that he left.

  21. TimDz - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Let’s all hope that the Pirates are monumentally PISSED OFF as they play this series against the Barves….

    Getting McCutcheon back Tuesday will help…

    • jd - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      ‘ Getting McCutcheon back Tuesday will help…’

      You think? he’s only their best player.

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        If you had to say, right this minute, who is the Nats best player what would you say? Is he on the DL? Does he have a shoulder issue? Is he only 21? Is he hitting over .300 with one homer? Or is he a pitcher?

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        Oh, I forgot. or is he tired? That Tony kid who specializes in doubles… and double plays. Or did we just get him in a trade?

        I could go on, but my point is, there doesn’t seem to be a “best” player on the team. Just a lot of very very good players.

      • scmargenau - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM


  22. dgourds - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    “Hitting balls the other way has been an issue for him lately, as that can make his shoulder act up. Getting a ball to pull was the best-case scenario.”
    Well, now the book is out on him for the rest of the league to use. I guess he’ll be seeing a lot of outside pitches. It’s hard to believe they let that information out.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      He always saw a lot of outside pitches. This is not news. Look at his heat map on inside pitches in 2013 when, presumably, his shoulder was fine.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      The league has been throwing a lot of outside pitches to Werth since he got here.My guess is they are the closest thing to a Achilles heal that he has.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      I do however, suspect (as someone wrote in the previous thread) that the Pirates weren’t expecting Jayson to swing, or at least not to swing well, and thought they might get a strikeout or weak popout on a 2-2 pitch in the 11th. But bear in mind, Cumpton is not a good pitcher, so he didn’t execute well. Werth got an inside, belt-high sinker. Right in his wheelhouse. It was almost identical to the one he fouled off, the one that had a good sound and would have been double to LF. They were warned.

      • David Proctor - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        The pitch Werth hit was not even a strike, it was inside. Werth turned on it. I assume they were trying to jam him and got beat

  23. natsguy - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    I don’t want to spoil the party, but y’alll are ignoring the elephants in the room.

    1. Soriano has been getting away with a lot of hard hit balls all year long. The averages are now catching up with him. Something needs to be done.

    2. What is going to be done about Gio. He has become an albatross. The 6th man on on a 5 man starting staff.

    3. What is the prognosis for RZIM. Is he coming back this year.

    4. As I have discussed earlier shoulders don’t heal very well. Will Werth be able to finish the season?

    They have some fixes for all but Soriano but they can’t keep letting him light matches near a propane tank.

    • jd - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      1) Not true – BABIP, K and BB per 9 innings all in line with career numbers. Soriano hasn’t been lucky this year, he’s been very good.

      2) Not true – Gio is having an off year but he’s hardly a number 6. He still gives you 5 to 6 innings every time out and he almost always leaves with his team very much in the game.

      3) Zim is not likely to come back before the end of September if at all, hence we got Cabrrera.

      4) Werth’s injury is very concerning. I would still DL him for 15 days.

      5) Soriano will be fine given a light work week.

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        Agree with all points. Annoying that Werth came in yesterday because now they can’t back-date the DL. However, given the result, worth it. They probably won’t DL him now. Fifteen days takes you past roster expansion, and you don’t want him on the DL in September, because what’s the point?

      • natsguy - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        1. True. Example the catch up against the wall by Werth and his sarcasm about the untuck. He has been given several “light weeks”. They haven’t seemed to take.

        2. True. except for a couple of games Gio has been pretty gawd awful. I make it a point not to watch those games, Lack of attention to detail. Gets distracted and loses focus very easily around the 4th inning. Curve ball is not working.

        JD take off the rose colored glasses.

        They are winning but some things need to be fixed

      • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        @natsguy –if this isn’t the time to wear rose-colored glasses, when is?

      • jd - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:01 AM


        That’s a silly example you give. Every pitcher including Kershaw and king Felix gives up deep flies and home runs. Your example proves nothing. The overall results by Soriano have been stellar and as many posters have often shown he has had clean innings on many occasions and he strikes out 9 hitters per 9 innings so the notion that he’s been lucky is flat out incorrect.

        Your criticism of Gio is also curious. How do you know he’s distracted?, how do you know he lacks focus? like I said, your definition of awful is of a very high standard. When your starter gives you 5 to 6 innings every time out and he gives up 3 runs or less most of the time you can call it whatever you like but it ain’t awful.

      • scmargenau - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        I think it’s easy to eye Gio isn’t focused. I think everyone has seen that.

        Re:Soriano. JD u may be right about career numbers but stats don’t win games. He has been VERY lucky in many games. He’s put multiple men on to squeeze out a win that just as easily could have been a bad loss. Hitters are hitting over 300 since all star break. Natsguy and others have every right to be concerned.

        In a playoff close situation, u trust him? He’s a game 5/6 blown save waiting to happen. And I’ll bet you no good team will want him next year. He has two pitches, both hittable, and no shut down pitch. No speed.

        I woke up to panic attack of sori blowing opening series. Quickly I grabbed my nats blanket and told myself it was just a nightmare. Everything’s ok.

        But is it?

    • adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      natsguy — you might want to check out this morning

      The Nats are a well balanced team — and even though Stras, Gio, Harper, and RZ haven’t been producing like we want, and even though there have been injuries and DL’s for eight of the Nats top players,

      They have the best record in the NL

      Best run differential, 4th in runs scored, best ERA, 2d best WHIP

      So, these elephants of which you speak are, apparently, a bit smaller than you perceive them to be.

      • natsguy - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        Better get them fixed before the playoffs.

      • adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        Well, sure, it’d be nice. But the fact that we have the best record in NL without these problems getting fixed means that we’re in a pretty decent position as it is.

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    The Pirates without McCutcheon just are a different team. The Pirates are a fringe playoff team with Cutch and just not good without him.

    Glad the Nats swept them because this was an opportunity and the Nats took the season series like they should have.

  25. exposedindc - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    My frustration is automatically assuming RS is your closer when clearly there are better options out there, why can’t MW try someone different ? Is he afraid it might work ?

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:43 AM

      If he tries something different, who pitches the innings that the “something different” doesn’t? Closer by committee rarely works for that reason, and teams that employ it usually do so for a short period until something shakes out (either the regular closer resumes his job or someone else takes it–and the committee vanishes within two weeks.)

      Storen “saved” the game in the 7th the other day. If you knew in advance when the most critical moment in the game would be, of course you would use your best reliever then. And Clip’s arm would detach from his shoulder.

      • jd - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM


        Exactly, After Soriano blew a save in Miami there were several criticisms as to why her didn’t use Storen to close, the next day he used Storen who did everything but blow a 3 run lead.

        When you have a plan it’s a lot easier to sleep at night whether the plan worked on a particular night or not, especially since the formula has worked all year long to the tune of the best record and the best run differential in the NL.

        I have a favorite story about Joe Maddon where he chose to put the winning run on base (there were men on 1st and 2nd and the hitter was Hamilton) and once he made that decision he sat back and relaxes. The point being that he made the best calculated decision in his mind and then he let the chips fall where they may, he wan’t about to second guess himself no matter what (The Rays won).

    • DaveB - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Expo … it’s the same reason he didn’t move Span out of the leadoff spot when we all “knew” that he was horrible for that spot. Managing is often more about dealing with all of the personalities, egos, comfort levels, etc. than it is just about the numbers. MW knows that if he can get Storen, Clippard and Sori into the post season playing their best, then he has a pretty awesome, proven combination, so any moves / non-moves will have more to do with trying to keep that on track than any one blown save.

      • adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:52 AM

        Well put!

      • exposedindc - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Not exactly the same situation, although I see your point, Span to me was the only true lead off hitter option available at that time, there were other options but none a true lead off hitter, the RS situation is different in that we have 3 closers, 3 people who have closed successfully, but only 2 who are strike out not pitch to contact closers which in my opinion is what is needed in a 9th inning close situation.
        It sometimes seems to me that because management brought in RS to close and because he has been installed as the 9th inning guy, that’s the way it has to be. How do we know that RS won’t be a great 7th inning guy unless it’s tried.

      • scmargenau - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:41 AM


  26. micksback1 - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    could it be 3 nights in a row for Mick at Nats Park??? I think it should since they win when I attend.
    only that did not hold true for game five back in 2012


  27. adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    OK, so, I just checked out Arizona’s roster — and their one bona fide all-universe all-start, Paul Goldschmidt, in on the 15-day DL? Nice bit of luck for us, no?

    Their scheduled 4 starters are Nuno (ERA 3.92), Anderson (3.16), Cahill (4.68) and Miley (4.46)
    We have: JZ (2.92), Stras (3.53), Roark (2.93), Gio (4.06)

    I like these match-ups.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Not only that, but they are at the end of their East Coast road trip. They had a rainout in Cleveland, so they were “off” on Tuesday, but then had a double header on Wednesday, and then four in Marlins Park. Could be a fatigue factor…

      Still don’t know why the 5:05 start. Experiment?

      • adcwonk - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        Yes — exactly: experiment.

        Nats office: “As we did last season, we are testing out a later game time as it will be a much cooler temperature for our fans and players. Many other teams have done the same thing.”

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Wade Miley has had 9 starts since July 1st and has given up 3 runs or less in 7 of the 9 starts. In 5 of those 9 starts he gave up 2 runs or less.

  28. thomaswell - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    RS is hitting a rough patch after a near perfect month before. it happens to the best of relievers. the question is how long this rough patch goes on….. best thing happened in that we found bats to win in spite of the collapse. Our closer bullpen (Storen, Clip & RS) are one of the best in business and there is no need to upend it because of a couple of collapses. closers are VERY EXPENSIVE, ask the Angels.

  29. theucane - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    I will boo for lack of effort, not for result. I was at the game last night and was pretty disgusted with the Nats’ fans. I just don’t want a Philadelphia Phillies atmosphere when I go to the games. Is that so wrong?

  30. stoatva - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Said last night to the guy in front of me, “Why does Williams get Polanco up at all if not to pitch to Polanco? Just to mop up after?” I thought it was a fine night to skip Soriano altogether, saying afterwards We just wanted to give him an extra day of rest.

    I’m not a boo-er (or, hopefully, a boor) personally, but I heard those boos directed not just at Soriano but at the rigid decision making that out him out there in the first place.

    • NatsLady - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      I wouldn’t have minded skipping Soriano, but apparently Storen was either not available or not-quite-available. So not a lot of choices unless you use Thornton and that would be rather odd at this point in the season. I’m not saying he couldn’t do the job, but it would be odd.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      “Why does Williams get Polanco up at all if not to pitch to Polanco? Just to mop up after?”

      I think you mean Thornton.

      • stoatva - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Yes thank you. My kingdom for an edit button.

        You asked for them you got them. FRESH SORIANO SHEETS upstairs.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        Sori is the type that you can tell whether he has it or not within the first 2 batters… I know if we notice that then MW does as well, at least I hope he and his staff recognize that… and has to be prepared and deviate from the plan and have the trigger finger…

  31. thomaswell - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Polanco before the hit was 0 for the series i believe

  32. Doc - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    If you live by the ‘Closer Myth’, you’ll die by the ‘Closer Myth’.

    Apart from that, Soriano could have used some more rest. FB and Slider were not working last night, and MW saw it, but didn’t act on it.

    Do that against a better team than the Pirates, and the game goes into the L column.

  33. thomaswell - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    hope this using Werth does not extend his injury. i totally understand using him in late inning AB when we are close EVEN IF he did not deliver.





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