It’s the question ringing in everybody’s head this morning.
In the post-game press conference, Ron Washington was asked why he didn’t consider bringing in Neftali Feliz for a six-out save, instead of turning to Darren Oliver, Darren O’Day, Clay Rapada and then, finally, Derek Holland (via the Dallas Morning News). You know, pretty much everyone except his best reliever.
“No. He’s never done anything like that. I wouldn’t do that. I had the people I wanted in the game. They didn’t get it done. It happens.”
That would be a fine retort if it was even remotely true. Fact is, it’s not. While none of them were “save situations,” Feliz has been used for six outs three times this season, including an extra inning win against these very same Yankees back on August 10. He has been asked to get at least four outs three other times. This season he has been groomed for short work out of the bullpen, but last season, eight of his 20 appearances were two innings or more.
“The Darrens” have been pretty effective this season, so I don’t necessarily disagree with using them, at least initially, but I just can’t understand how you put Game 1 in the hands of Clay Rapada. Why save Neftali Feliz for a save opportunity which may never come?
Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.
Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.
While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.
Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.