Results tagged ‘ Rafael Soriano ’

What to Watch for: 8.4.13

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Washington Nationals (54-56) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (46-64)

RHP Taylor Jordan (1-3, 3.31) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (7-7, 3.22) 

The Nationals snapped the Milwaukee’s string of 86 games without being shutout (the longest such stretch in the Major Leagues) with a 3-0 victory Saturday night. The win also gave Washington a 4-2 record against the Brewers so far in 2013 which, combined with a 5-3 mark in 2012, means the Nationals have won consecutive season series at the Brew Crew’s expense for the first time in Nationals history (‘05-present). Taylor Jordan takes the hill in Sunday’s finale looking to guide the Nationals to their first road sweep of the season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper LF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Lombardozzi 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Jordan RHP

DAN THE MAN

Dan Haren turned in seven scoreless frames of four-hit ball to earn his second consecutive victory. In the five starts since his return from the disabled list on July 8, the right-hander has a 2.70 ERA (8 ER/30.0 IP) with just eight walks against 32 strikeouts and a .206 opponents batting average.

JOINING THE CLUB

Adam LaRoche hit his 15th home run of the season, making him the fourth Nationals player to reach the plateau so far this year (Desmond 16, Harper 16, Werth 15). Only two other teams in the National League (Atlanta, Colorado) have four players with 15 or more roundtrippers, while three teams (Miami, San Diego, San Francisco) do not have a single player with at least 15 on the season.

CLIPP N’ SAVE

Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano combined on a scoreless eighth and ninth inning Saturday, leading to Soriano’s 28th save in 32 opportunities this year. Clippard, meanwhile, has not blown a lead all season, and is 3-0 with 11 holds, a 0.70 ERA (2 ER/25.2 IP), a .107 opponents average and 27 strikeouts since the beginning of June.

Highlights: 8.3.13

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8.3.13 – Nationals 3, Brewers 0

Stat of the Game: Dan Haren delivered his second straight sparkling start, shutting out the Brewers over seven innings to earn the win.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Adam LaRoche became the fourth Nationals player with 15 or more home runs this season, using Jayson Werth‘s bat to drive an opposite-field blast.

It Was Over When: Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano retired all six batters they faced to close the door.

Highlights: 7.27.13

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7.27.13 – Nationals 4, Mets 1

Stat of the Game: Dan Haren earned his first win in 12 starts thanks to a dominant performance, in which he allowed just three hits over seven frames.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Bryce Harper homered for the second time in three games, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBI.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano struck out Ike Davis to lock down his 26th save in 30 opportunities.

The Second “Half”

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There has been plenty written about the Nationals the past few days and what it will take for them to play in October this season.

We’ll leave the “to reach x wins, they need to go xx-xx the rest of the way” predictions to others. As Davey Johnson and his troops have expressed over recent weeks, what the team needs to do is play at the level its capable of with more consistency. It doesn’t really matter how many games are left, or against whom. We all know this team is capable – when they are playing their best – of beating anyone.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

Davey Johnson is looking for more consistency from his club in the second half.

They’ll get their first test immediately out of the All-Star break. The suddenly hot Los Angeles Dodgers come to town to open an 11-game, 10-day homestand, during which they will throw recently acquired Nationals nemesis Ricky Nolasco, along with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Things don’t get easier from there, as the contending Pittsburgh Pirates visit for four games beginning next week. The homestand concludes with a Matt Harvey-headlined doubleheader followed by a pair of weekend games against the scrappy New York Mets.

Of course, the Nationals will counter with arguable the healthiest team they’ve fielded since the first week of the season. With the lineup at full strength, the only pieces missing are Ross Detwiler and Ryan Mattheus, both expected back off the disabled list soon. Washington will also be throwing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann in the three Dodgers games, putting its own best pitching foot forward. Dan Haren, who has a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP) and 14 strikeouts in his two outings since his own return from the DL may be starting to show signs of being the solid veteran pickup that Mike Rizzo and company were hoping for when they signed him last offseason. With Taylor Jordan solidly holding down the fort at the back of the rotation in the meantime, the starting staff looks poised to lead the way.

Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano has closed out 25 of 29 save opportunities with a 2.25 ERA on the season. Tyler Clippard has been one of the best relievers in the game, winning six games out of the ‘pen while posting better than a strikeout per inning and a sub-2.00 ERA. Ian Krol and Fernando Abad have given Washington two lefty relievers they did not have at the beginning of the year, both joining Clippard in the sub-2.00 club thus far. Factor in some solid contributions out of the long-man spot by Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.74 ERA) and the bullpen looks as solid as it has all year.

It’s taken a few months for all these pieces to come together and be on the field at the same time. But with a fully rested and healthy squad coming back from the All-Star break, these Nationals look as well constructed as they have been all year to finally put together the extended run that has thus far eluded them, the one they all know they will need to bring October NATITUDE back to The District.

Highlights: 7.6.13

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7.6.13 – Nationals 5, Padres 4

Stat of the Game: Bryce Harper drove in three runs in three different plate appearances to lead the offense.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Adam LaRoche swatted his 13th home run of the season as part of a two-hit game.

It Was Over When: LaRoche made a diving snag to his right and flipped to Rafael Soriano covering first to preserve the latter’s 23rd save of the season.

Highlights: 7.5.13

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7.5.13 – Nationals 8, Padres 5

Stat of the Game: Jayson Werth led the offense with his second straight three-hit game as Washington posted a second consecutive 8-5 victory.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Gio Gonzalez settled down from a shaky start to earn his third straight win.

It Was Over When: Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano retired all six batters they faced to close out the victory.

Leading By Example

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We often look for gregarious personalities in our leaders, people whose voices often capture our attention before anything else. Yet sometimes they’re really just the guys quietly going about their business.

The Nationals have found their leadership lately in the unlikely duo of rookie second baseman Anthony Rendon and pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. They have quietly carried the Nats this season as the likes of Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos recover from injuries.

Consider for a moment the numbers Rendon has posted in his first 26 big-league games. The rookie is sporting a .354 average, even accounting for his eight-game stint in April and May when he batted just .240. He was recalled on June 5, and since June 8he has accumulated 28 hits and a .400 average. That doesn’t just put him among the best of the league’s rookies. He’s batting as well as anyone in the majors in that time frame. No, seriously.

MLB Hit Leaders since 6/8

While Yasiel Puig has gotten all the attention, Anthony Rendon has quietly been among the best hitters in the game since early June.

While Yasiel Puig has gotten all the attention, Anthony Rendon has quietly been among the best hitters in the game since early June.

1. Yasiel Puig (LAD) 29

David Wright (NYM) 29

3. Anthony Rendon (WSH) 28

4. Mike Trout (LAA) 27

5. Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) 26

Jason Kipnis (CLE) 26

7. Brett Gardner (NYY) 25

Manny Machado (BAL) 25

Joe Mauer (MIN) 25

Buster Posey (SFG) 25

Michael Young (PHI) 25

Through his first 25 games, Rendon amassed 32 hits, more than any player to debut with the Nationals since 2005. He then proceeded to go 3-for-4 in last night’s 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks, just missing a home run on a towering shot to left field in his final at-bat.

Zimmermann’s impact has been less unexpected, but perhaps just as unheralded. The righty ace is silently leading the National League with 11 wins (sharing the Major League lead with Detroit’s Max Scherzer), having turned in another stellar outing last night. After giving up two runs on two hits in the first inning, he allowed just one more hit though the seventh inning, giving way to Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano to close out the final two innings.

With Harper set to return as early as Monday, and Ramos expected shortly thereafter, the Nationals are slowly building a winning foundation to build upon when they get those other crucial pieces back.

Highlights: 6.26.13

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6.26.13 – Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 2

Stat of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann won his National League-leading 11th game of the season with seven strong innings.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Anthony Rendon collected three more hits, raising his average to .354 for the season.

It Was Over When: Rafael Soriano stranded a pair of runners in the ninth for his second save in as many nights and 21st on the season.

What to Watch for: 6.26.13

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Arizona Diamondbacks (41-35) vs. Washington Nationals (38-38)

LHP Wade Miley (4-7, 4.70) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (10-3, 2.26) 

Following a series-opening win Tuesday on the strength of Adam LaRoche’s three hits — including a three-run home run to cap a five-run third inning — the Nationals look to grab a series win over the Diamondbacks with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound. Zimmermann, who has not lost at Nationals Park in 19 starts (May 17, 2012 against Pittsburgh), looks for his National League-leading 11th win of the season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Moore LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Zimmermann RHP

ROOKIE RECORDS

Since being recalled by the Nationals on June 4, Anthony Rendon is 26-for-70 (.371) with three walks, eight doubles, a homer (game-winning blast in the ninth, June 15 at Cleveland) and nine runs scored. Rendon has tallied more hits his first 25 career games than any player to debut with the Nationals since 2005. In fact, the only player to debut with the Nationals/Expos franchise and post more hits in the initial 25 games of a career is Coco Laboy (34 hits in first 25 games with the Expos in 1969). Since 1900, Rendon and Gil Torres (32 hits in first 25 games for the 1944 AL Nationals) are the only D.C.-based players with as many 32 in 25 games to begin a big league career.

20 PUBLIC UNTUCKINGS AND COUNTING

Rafael Soriano earned the save in last night’s 7-5 victory to become just the third Nationals closer to register 20 saves before the end of June, joining Matt Capps (2010) and Chad Cordero (2005). Soriano’s 20 saves rank fourth in the National League.

HOT AT HOME

Adam LaRoche has hit safely in 19 consecutive games at Nationals Park, going 30-for-69 (.435) with six walks, two doubles, two triples, four home runs, 17 runs scored and 16 RBI. LaRoche’s current streak at home is tied for the second-longest hit streak ever at Nationals Park, which opened in 2008. Ryan Zimmerman has posted separate 19- (Aug. 4-Sept. 19, 2012) and 24-game (July 3-Aug. 23, 2011) hit streaks at home since the ballpark’s opening.

What to Watch for: 6.22.13

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Colorado Rockies (37-38) vs. Washington Nationals (37-36)

RHP Jhoulys Chacin (5-3, 4.26) vs. RHP Dan Haren (4-8, 5.72)

The Nationals won their third straight game thanks to Ian Desmond’s seventh-inning, go-ahead jack, his third homer in as many contests. The win helped propel Washington to its sixth win in 10 games, and gave the Nats their first season series win over the Rockies since 2005. Today, Dan Haren takes the mound to try to give the Nationals their first four-game winning streak since winning five in a row between May 4-10.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Rendon 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Bernadina RF

7. Lombardozzi LF

8. Solano C

9. Haren RHP

GOOD WOOD

Remarkably, nine of Ian Desmond’s 12 home runs this season have been go-ahead blasts. Desmond currently leads all active MLB shortstops with 32 extra-base hits (18 doubles, 2 triples, 12 home runs). During Washington’s current three-game win streak, Desmond has posted the game-winning RBI in each contest, and he paces all MLB shortstops with nine game-winning RBI.

19 PUBLIC UNTUCKINGS AND COUNTING

With 19 saves in hand, Rafael Soriano is one save shy of becoming the third Nationals closer to tally 20 saves before the end of June. At present, Matt Capps (20th save on June 9, 2010 vs. Pittsburgh) and Chad Cordero (June 14, 2005 at Los Angeles Angels) comprise this short list.

BULL-PENNINGS

In 14 games and 43.0 innings dating to the June 8 series opener vs. Minnesota, Jim Lett’s bullpen is 4-3 with five holds, four saves (zero blown saves), 43 strikeouts and a 1.67 ERA (8 ER/43.0 IP). In that span, the bullpen has lowered its season ERA from 4.06 to 3.61. The bullpen has not allowed a home run at Nationals Park since Atlanta’s Ramiro Pena went deep in the 10th inning on April 12. Since that blast, Nationals relievers have worked 73.1 consecutive homerless innings in the District.

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