The Washington Nationals hold a seven-game divisional lead and are shoe-ins for the playoffs. Most folks would probably say they’re the favorite in the entire National League at the moment. But they do have one problem: their closer.
Rafael Soriano blew his second straight save last night and his fifth in his last 21 appearances. He has allowed ten runs in his lat 12 outings. He blew this one by giving up two home runs after coming in with a three-run lead. One of the homers was to Ben Revere of all people. The same Ben Revere who had one previous home run his 470 major league games coming into last night’s contest. The other came off the bat of Carlos Ruiz.
After that performance, manager Matt Williams acknowledged that he may be using a different closer down the stretch. From Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com:
“We’ll address it, yeah. We need to address it.”
“We’re certainly going to have to take a hard look at it,” Williams said. “It’s not an easy decision. None of them are. But we want to be able to close those games out. Sori understands that, he’s been around the block.”
Soriano’s 6.98 ERA in the second half is awful, and it may be that Matt Thornton, Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard get some turns in the ninth inning in the coming days. Thankfully for the Nats, they have some time and a nice cushion at their disposal as they try to figure things out.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive during a simulated game on Saturday afternoon. He remained on the ground for a while before exiting the field with the help of trainers. He went to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and was released in the evening.
Per James Wagner of The New York Times, Tanaka entered the hospital with concussion-like symptoms but they went away. Tanaka underwent a series of tests, including a CT scan, and checked out fine. The right-hander will still likely undergo MLB’s concussion protocol.
Tanaka, 31, will pitch out of the middle of the Yankees’ rotation behind Gerrit Cole and James Paxton during this shortened 60-game season. Tanaka had an up-and-down 2019 campaign, finishing with a 4.45 ERA, 149 strikeouts, and 40 walks over 182 innings of work. He is entering the final year of his seven-year, $155 million contract, so he may enter free agency after the season.