The Nationals were locked in a 1-1 tie with Atlanta Braves on Saturday night, but their best and highest paid reliever was sitting on the bench with his shirt neatly tucked.
After Gio pitched 7 great innings, Davey Johnson opted to give the 8th inning to Drew Storen and then the 9th inning to Fernando Abad. After going into extra innings, he gave the 10th inning to the erratic Henry Rodriguez. Well, not a full inning, because the Braves won on a walk-off base hit by B.J. Upton after two walks.
Where was Soriano? He should have been available. He pitched the night before, but he’s often pitched two days in a row. Furthermore, Soriano hadn’t pitched in the six days prior that appearance Friday night. He should have been well rested.
The guess here is that Davey Johnson is hesitant to use Soriano unless its a save situation. I’m guessing Soriano would have been used Saturday night if the Nationals had scored in the 9th or 10th inning.
This is nonsensical. There’s no point in waiting for a save situation that never arrives. The Nats could have used Soriano in the 10th inning to keep the game going.* Instead, they chose to lose with an inconsistent Rodriguez.
If Soriano is Nationals best reliever, they should use him in the highest-leverage situations. Tie game, 10th inning against your biggest rival is one of them.
There are many reasons the Nationals lost on Saturday. Davey Johnson is one of them.
* The Braves chose to use their closer in the 9th inning. He pitched a scoreless inning.