Results tagged ‘ Rafael Soriano ’

Signature Moment of 2013: Quarterfinal #1

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With 86 wins in the books, the 2013 season had its share of lasting memories. We have seeded the top 10 in our book, and over the next few weeks we will be letting you vote in a bracket-style competition to determine the ultimate signature moment of the season. Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through the World Series for a new poll and to see which moments advanced on to the next round.

SigMomentsBracketBRYCE

ONE HIT WONDERS | 4.25 & 4.26

On April 25 against the Cincinnati Reds, Gio Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano combined to throw just the second one-hitter in the history of the young Nationals franchise, handing the Reds an 8-1 loss. The very next night, Jordan Zimmermann did all the work himself, needing just 91 pitches to finish a one-hitter of his own, his first career shutout, 1-0. It was the first time since August 10-11, 1917 that a Washington-based baseball club had one-hit an opponent on consecutive days, when Walter Johnson and a trio of Senators did so to the Chicago White Sox.

ONE GRAND SWING | 8.10

Jayson Werth reached the 1,000-hit milestone in memorable fashion on August 10, in an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. After a pair of singles in his second and third at-bats got him to 999, Werth was set up for a chance to reach the 1,000 mark in his next at-bat, which came in a tie game with a runner at first and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. The normally methodical Werth took no time to make his presence felt, jumping on the first pitch and wrapping it inside the left field foul pole for a go-ahead, two-run home run.

GrandSwing

Highlights: 9.28.13

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9.28.13: Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 0

Stat of the Game: Dan Haren was in command in his final start of the season, scattering four hits over seven scoreless frames.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Another former D-Back, Chad Tracy, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo shot, his first homer since June 17.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano got the final three outs to record his 43rd save, second-most in the National League.

Highlights: 9.19.13

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9.19.13 – Nationals 3, Marlins 2

Stat of the Game: Bryce Harper launched his 20th home run of the season to provide all three runs of offense.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Three relievers – Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano – combined for 3.0 innings of scoreless relief.

It Was Over When: Soriano fanned Christian Yelich with two runners on to lock up his 42nd save of the year.

Highlights: 9.10.13

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9.10.13 – Nationals 6, Mets 3

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth hit his team-leading 23rd home run and doubled twice, raising his slash line to .328/.401/.548.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Scott Hairston delivered a pinch-hit home run in the ninth to provide a pair of insurance runs.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano locked down the save with a scoreless ninth, becoming the third Nationals closer to record at least 40 saves in a season.

What to Watch for: 9.9.13

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Washington Nationals (73-69) vs. New York Mets (64-77)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.49) vs. RHP Carlos Torres (3-5, 2.89)

Quietly, the Nationals have played their best extended stretch of baseball over the past calendar month, having won four-of-five, eight-of-12, 13-of-18 and 19 of their last 28 games. Unfortunately, the teams in front of them have continued to win as well, preventing Washington from closing any real ground in the chase for the final playoff spot. Entering the beginning of tonight’s four-game series in New York, Washington trails both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by eight games in the standings.

There are 20 games remaining in the regular season, as the Nationals follow these four in New York with 10 more at home – against Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami – then six final road games, three apiece at St. Louis and Arizona. That leaves their elimination number at 12 behind the Reds and 13 behind the Pirates, who have suddenly lost four straight. Washington will have to play the final 20 contests at least eight games better than one of those two clubs to continue their season into October.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Jayson Werth RF

4. Ian Desmond SS

5. Adam LaRoche 1B

6. Wilson Ramos C

7. Tyler Moore LF

8. Anthony Rendon 2B

9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

ATTENTION SPAN

Denard Span has hit safely in a career-high 19 straight games at a .397 (31-for-78) clip with five walks, three doubles, two triples, a homer, 12 runs scored and 6 RBI. Span’s surge has raised his batting average from .258 to .279 on the season. The 19-game streak is the longest active streak in MLB and the longest by a National this season.

START ME UP

Wilson Ramos has started 16 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Nationals backstop (2005-present) and the fouth-longest streak by a MLB catcher this season. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina paces that group (22 G, 4/20-5/14). During this stretch, Ramos has clubbed 3 homers and plated 11 RBI.

TURNING 40 SOON

With 39 in hand, Rafael Soriano is just one save away from becoming the third Nationals closer to record 40 saves in a season, joining Chad Cordero (47, ‘05) and Drew Storen (43, ‘11). Soriano eclipsed 40 saves with both the Rays (45, 2010) and Yankees (42, 2012).

Highlights: 9.8.13

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9.8.13 – Nationals 6, Marlins 4

Stat of the Game: Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos each collected three of the four legs of the cycle, coming up a home run and a triple shy, respectively.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ryan Zimmerman homered for the third time in two games, giving him an even 20 for the season.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano tossed a 1-2-3 ninth frame for his 39th save of the season.

What to Watch for: 8.30.13

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New York Mets (60-72) vs. Washington Nationals (68-65)

RHP Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (15-7, 3.32) 

Often in baseball, we talk about the intangible benefits of veterans in the clubhouse. They seem to have an effect on the team dynamic by their mere presence, leading by example, letting their play speak for itself.

It’s less often we hear about the tangible benefits of veteran leaders. Sure, they’re frequently the ones making an impact in the box score night in and night out, but their role as teachers for the less experienced players can be easy to overlook.

Yet, if it weren’t for one of those moments of tangible leadership, the Nationals might have had a more difficult time dispatching the Marlins, 9-0, on Thursday night.

On paper, pitcher Gio Gonzalez’s seven shutout innings look about as solid as a manager can hope for from his starter. For the first two innings, though, Miami appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough, as Gonzalez walked three and gave up two hits, striking out just one batter. While he managed to strand three runners in scoring position over the first two frames, his pitch count rose to 43, not a good sign with a depleted Nationals bullpen that threw seven innings Wednesday due to the rain.

Cue that veteran guidance. Dripping with sweat after the two long frames, Gonzalez retreated to the clubhouse and found closer Rafael Soriano waiting for him. The 12-year veteran had noticed something off with Gonzalez’s delivery and had some words of wisdom for the Nationals starter.

“After the second inning, I came up here to change my shirt, and I had Soriano standing right in the entrance telling me, ‘Stay back, your arm is dropping way too low and you are trying to rush,’” Gonzalez recalled. “That meant a lot, especially when he is out there watching.”

Gonzalez made the adjustment. Over his next five innings of work, he gave up just one more hit and struck out seven Miami batters on just 65 pitches. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson flirted with the idea of sending him back out for the eighth, before handing the ball over to Tanner Roark. The rookie reliever made quick work of the eighth and ninth innings, needing just 13 pitches, 12 of which were strikes.

The Nats offense helped alleviate any lingering pressure, with Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond each launching multi-run homers over the left field fence. If the Nationals are to make a run at a National League Wild Card spot, offensive performances like those that have marked their current hot streak will be crucial. But so, too, will the small adjustments like Gonzalez’s, and the veterans that spot the need for them.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Bryce Harper LF

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Adam LaRoche 1B

7. Wilson Ramos C

8. Anthony Rendon 2B

9. Jordan Zimmermann RHP

D.C.’S HIT MAN SOON TO BE EXPOSED

Jayson Werth’s .329 batting average would rank a close second in the National League and trail only Yadier Molina (.333) with enough plate appearances to qualify. Werth’s 411 plate appearances to date are only one shy of the 412 presently required (133 games x 3.1 plate appearances per game) to qualify for the NL batting title. The outfielder is batting a Major League Baseball-best .389 dating to July 1.

18 AND UP CLUB

The Nationals are the lone National League club to feature four players with 18 or more home runs. The team’s long balls have been fairly evenly distributed, however, as each of the top four power players in Washington are within just three dingers of one other:

Jayson Werth – 21

Ian Desmond – 20

Bryce Harper – 19

Adam LaRoche – 18

AUGUST HEAT

After struggling offensively for portions of the 2013 season, the Nationals rank third in the NL in runs per game in the month of August. Washington has scored 123 runs in 25 games this month (4.92 per game). Among Senior Circuit entries, only St. Louis (5.19 runs in 27 August contests) and Arizona (5.04 in 25 games) have scored more often per contest than the Nationals this month.

Highlights: 8.28.13

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8.28.13 – Nationals 4, Marlins 3

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth tied the game with a solo shot in the sixth, becoming the first National to 20 home runs this season.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond came through with the go-ahead RBI in the seventh, following an intentional walk with two outs.

It Was Over When: For the second night in a row, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano put up zeroes in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to preserve the one-run win.

Highlights: 8.27.13

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8.27.13 – Nationals 2, Marlins 1

Stat of the Game: Ian Desmond had three hits, including an RBI-single with two out in the first that proved to be the difference.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Four Washington relievers – Tanner Roark, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano – combined to throw four innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.

It Was Over When: Soriano locked up his 34th save, inducing a game-ending groundout from Adainy Hechavarria.

What to Watch for: 8.14.13

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San Francisco Giants (52-66) vs. Washington Nationals (58-60)

RHP Tim Lincecum (6-11, 4.18) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (13-6, 3.10)

Rafael Soriano notched his 30th save of the season Tuesday night, tossing a 1-2-3 ninth to seal Washington’s 4-2 win over the Giants. In so doing, he became the sixth player in Major League Baseball history with at least 30 saves for at least three different teams and the Nationals became the sixth different franchise with three different 30-save closers in a least three consecutive years:

30+ saves on 3+ teams:
Randy Myers (Reds, Padres, Cubs, Orioles)
Lee Smith (Cubs, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels)
Jose Mesa (Indians, Mariners, Phillies, Pirates)
Billy Wagner (Astros, Phillies, Mets, Braves)
Doug Jones (Indians, Astros, Brewers)
Rafael Soriano (Rays, Yankees, Nationals)

3+ different closers with 30+ saves in 3+ consecutive years:
Florida Marlins (2004-2007): Benitez, Jones, Borowski, Gregg
Cincinnati Reds (1989-1991): Franco, Myers, Dibble
Atlanta Braves (1997-1999): Wohlers, Ligtenberg, Rocker
Oakland Athletics (2001-2003): Isringhausen, Koch, Foulke
Toronto Blue Jays (2005-2007): Batista, Ryan, Accardo
Washington Nationals (2011-2013): Storen, Clippard, Soriano

In addition, the Nationals have seven different saves leaders in the past seven years:

2007 Chad Cordero (37)
2008 Jon Rauch (17)
2009 Mike MacDougal (20)
2010 Matt Capps (26)
2011 Drew Storen (43)
2012 Tyler Clippard (32)
2013 Rafael Soriano (30)

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

3. Bryce Harper LF

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Adam LaRoche 1B

7. Anthony Rendon 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki C

9. Jordan Zimmermann RHP

START ME UP

Tonight’s matchup of starters is a rematch of the last time Tim Lincecum pitched in Washington, on July 3, 2012 against Jordan Zimmermann. In that game, the Nationals tagged the former Cy Young Award winner for eight runs, seven earned, in just 3.1 innings of work. Meanwhile, Zimmermann allowed just two runs (one earned) in six solid frames as Washington went on to defeat San Francisco, 9-3.

A WERTHY CONTENDER

Jayson Werth’s .410 batting average since July 1 is easily the best in all of baseball, well ahead of his next closest competitor – Detroit’s Victor Martinez – who clocks in at .384 over the same span. Werth’s .327 season average would rank third in the National League if he had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title (Chris Johnson .337, Yadier Molina .330).

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Ian Desmond’s fourth-inning double on Tuesday was his 50th extra-base hit (32 doubles, two triples, 16 homers) of 2013. No other MLB shortstop has more than 40 extra-base hits this season. With 32 in the bag, Desmond’s next double will match his career high (33 in 2012).

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