Tanner Rainey’s fastball actually played up a bit as he tossed 2.0 scoreless on 21 pitches in his outing on Sunday in Atlanta, GA’s Truist Park, but the reliever, who has struggled some this season in the closer’s role, was placed on the 60-Day Injured List this afternoon with a right UCL sprain. It’s a big blow for the Nationals and Washington’s hard-throwing 29-year-old right-hander, who’s put up a 3.30 ERA, a 4.18 FIP, 13 walks (3.90 BB/9), 36 Ks (10.80 K/9), and a .228/.305/.386 line against in 29 games and 30 IP, over which he has saved 12 games (and blown four save opportunities).
Rainey averaged 98.3 MPH on his four-seam fastball on Sunday, which got up to 99.4 MPH, and overall on the year, he’s averaged 97 MPH on the pitch which he’s thrown 70.4% of the time, with 29% sliders, and the occasional changeup (0.6%).
Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters earlier this month he’s seen tremendous growth from Rainey since they acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds in the winter of 2018.
“The growth that Rainey has had from when we first got him to now,” Martinez explained of the hard-throwing, but wild reliever the Nats acquired from the Reds, “he’s closing games, and he’s getting better. He’s understanding the importance of getting ahead and throwing strikes, and making pitches, and staying in the moment, not trying to get ahead of himself, so, but then again, there’s times where as we always say that he gets that one or two mistakes that he makes, but now he’ll come find me and say, ‘I probably should have done this,’ and I say, ‘There you go, that’s awesome that you’re looking back and you’re saying hey this is what I probably should have done and you’re accepting and you learn from it.’”
“I always told him, I’ve told him this for three years, ‘I believe you’ve got good enough stuff to close games, but you’ve got to believe it in your own mind,’” Martinez said after Rainey’s fourth blown save of the season on July 3rd.
Tyler Clippard, 37, was called up this afternoon with Rainey going on the IL. Clippard is up for the first time this season, after signing a minor league deal with the club he was a part of from 2008-14, with the Nats noting that since May 4th, the right-hander has gone (3–1) with, “a 1.00 ERA (3 R/27.0 IP) in 23 appearances, working 20 scoreless outings,” over that stretch.
Good news for Clippard, bad news for Tanner Rainey and the Nationals. More info when it’s available...