Soriano rebounds with perfect ninth inning

By Daniel Popper

WASHINGTON – In his previous nine appearances before Wednesday night, Nationals closer Rafael Soriano compiled a 13.06 ERA, surrendering nine earned runs on 12 hits over 6.2 innings. He blew two saves in six chances and saw his 2014 ERA skyrocket from 1.96 to 2.54, a season-worst for the right-hander.

The rough stretch prompted manager Matt Williams to give Soriano Monday and Tuesday off. And on Wednesday night against the D-backs, Soriano rebounded with a perfect top of the ninth inning in a tie ballgame.

The performance proved crucial, as the Nationals pulled out a walk-off, 3-2 victory in the bottom half on an RBI single from pinch-hitter Anthony Rendon.

“He had a really good fastball tonight, 92-93. Good slider,” Williams said. “Everything was crisp. A couple of days off really helped him.”

1 Comment

It is good that Soriano has rebounded in terms of his pitching (at least for now). Hopefully, Williams in keeping faith with Soriano has also impressed on him the value of being a complete team player by backing up on plays to first base. In playoff baseball, which all expect to be in the Nationals future, it is vitally important that all players including Soriano carry out their obligations and responsibilities on the field.

Harold G. Pavel

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