The word from Nationals Park today is that veteran closer Rafael Soriano will take the next few days off to work on his mechanics and figure out the issues behind his recent struggles. Nats' skipper Matt Williams declined to name a new closer when he spoke to reporters this afternoon, explaining instead that he would make decisions in the immediate future based on matchups and availability:
Rafael Soriano says he spoke with Matt Williams. He will take a couple days off to work on mechanics & slider. Will throw a bullpen Monday.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) September 6, 2014
Who's the Nats closer? "It depends on what kind of matchup we have," Williams said. "We've got options."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) September 6, 2014
So basically, no definitive short-term or long-term closer plan revealed. Doesn't mean Williams doesn't have one in mind, though.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) September 6, 2014
The Nationals will have several options in terms of closers with Williams noting last night that Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Matt Thornton all have experience in the ninth inning.
They will also have one more arm in the bullpen and another option on the bench going forward as the Nationals announced this afternoon that they recalled right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus as well as outfielder Michael A. Taylor:
The #Nats have recalled OF Michael A. Taylor & RHP Ryan Mattheus from Triple-A Syracuse.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 6, 2014
Mattheus, 30, has thrown the majority of his innings this season at Triple-A Syracuse, where the right-hander put up a 5.80 ERA, a 4.28 FIP, 12 walks (2.68 BB/9) and 32 Ks (7.14 K/9) in 40 ⅓ IP.
Taylor, 23, made his MLB debut earlier this season, starting his fifth campaign in the Nats' system after they drafted him in the sixth round of the '09 Draft, at Double-A Harrisburg where the outfielder put up a .313/.396/.539 line with 17 doubles, 22 home runs and 34 stolen bases in 98 games and 441 plate appearances before he was promoted to Triple-A and then quickly the majors for a seven game stint last month during which he was 3 for 22 with a home run.
The Nationals send Tanner Roark to the mound today against the Phillies, here's lineup that will back the right-hander up in the second game of the three-game set: