Raphael Soriano came on in the 9th inning last night (8/20) to a tie game, after a few days well-earned rest. He pitched a 1,2,3 inning looking rested and his slider was back! He had good control again and the slider was beaking down as sharply as I’ve ever seen it. He obviously had worked on it since his recent troubles.
He came in again tonight. Pitched almost as well as he did last night, though his slider was not as good. They won again in a walk-off so Sori was the winning pitcher again!
I would not use him in more than two consecutive games.
After the game Sunday (August 17) I was livid over the team’s mismanagement of Raphael Soriano. Manager Matt sent him out to close his 4th game in the last 5 nights! It is too late in the season for this crap. That is too much for any closer! Williams ought to be thinking ahead to how he is going to use his excellent bullpen in the playoffs. He has 4 strong late-inning guys, each of whom is very capable of closing close games (as well as Aaron Barrett, who will be back soon and likely will be ready for some late-inning use too in the playoffs).
The best way to use Sorriano, Clippard, Storen and Thornton is to start “mixing and matching” them in the 7th, 8th and 9th, closing with whomever has the “hot hand” and has been effective with the team they are playing that day. At this late date I would not even think of asking Barrett to close any games, but I’d not hesitate to use him in the 7th or 8th.
I’m pretty sure the Nats will make the playoffs, but they are not going to go far using just Soriano as the sole closer.
As for the starting pitchers, Williams should stick to his big three, and limit Strass and Gio to spot starts when the big three need a rest. The playoffs are just for experienced ADULT players!