Has Rafael Soriano, in putting up a 6.95 ERA and a .326/.387/.537 line against with five blown saves in 24 games and 22 innings pitched in the second half, (after putting up a 0.97 ERA and a .153/.222/.226 line in 37 G, 37 IP in the first-half), pitched his way out of the Washington Nationals' postseason bullpen?
Nats' skipper Matt Williams was asked what role Soriano will play going forward in an interview on the MLB Network Radio show "First Pitch" this morning when he spoke to hosts Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo. Is Drew Storen officially the closer now? Has it been officially decided? And what about Soriano?
"We look at it like today," William said, "if we have a lead today, Drew has been in three straight. So it would be somebody else today anyway. And I know everybody talks about it and says, 'Matt's not really saying the truth when he says it's by committee.' But it really is. It depends on who is available and it depends on who's feeling good and who's not. At this time of the season, you've got guys that have thrown a lot of innings that can get crispy and if you've got a situation like we do with Drew who's been out there three days in a row you don't want to push it.
"So, one, I want to get [Soriano] back in line. The time before his last outing he threw the ball really well, last time wasn't so good. But we need him. We're going to need him and we're going to need him to pitch well for us. So he'll pitch during the last part of the season and in some pressure situations. That's where he's been and we're going to need him in those."
Williams also talked about Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman...
Williams on Strasburg's season/200 IP/postseason:
"I know it's a big deal for Stephen. Given where he's come from. All that he's gone through with the surgery and coming back from that, 200 innings is important to him. He's there and now we want to make sure that for his final starts, that he just maintains his work ethic, and mantains the way he's been throwing the baseball. It's been really good, and so we'll look at his particular starts and look at the amount of innings within those starts that he's throwing. If for some reason he's got a commanding lead and he's up to his pitch count, there's no reason that we would run him out there for more, but at the same time, I mean, if it's a 1-0 game potentially and he's out there to win we're going to give him that opportunity. You can't deny him that."
Williams on Zimmerman's rehab:
"Zim is Day 2 today of his rehab stint in Florida. So yesterday he played three innings, today he'll play five. He'll get a DH day tomorrow. He's getting a load of at bats. He got five at bats yesterday in three innings, which we can kind of set up there for him. So, he's getting a bunch of ABs and working on his defense and making sure his legs are underneath him. That's probably the biggest process, coming off a hamstring injury just trying to make sure your leg is okay. So five innings today, DH tomorrow. He's running the bases a little bit during the game, which is good and reports no problem. So that being said, after his DH day he's scheduled for a seven-inning stint and a nine-inning stint and we'll see where we're at after that.
"But all indications are he's good, leg has healed up pretty well, now he just has to get in baseball shape again."
• Listen to Williams' interview on MLB Network Radio below: