The Washington Nationals have hit a rough patch as of late.
The reigning National League East champs are now just 23-23 after suffering their fourth straight defeat Tuesday night at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. However, the Nats were certainly in position to win the game before Giants hitter Gregor Blanco laced a two-strike, two-out triple off Nats closer Rafael Soriano to send the game into extras. Pablo Sandoval gave San Francisco a walk-off win in the very next inning when smacking a two-run homer.
Afterward, Soriano wasn't too pleased about blowing the save, and even called out teammate Bryce Harper to vent his frustration. Blanco's triple to right-center field sailed over the head of Harper after the latter flinched in pursuit of the ball even though he was several feet short of the brick wall.
Harper admitted after the game that his brutal collision with the wall at Dodger Stadium eight days before went through his mind during the play. Harper required 11 stitches to close up the wounds and wound up missing three games because of it.
"Absolutely,'' said Harper, insisting he should have made the catch. "Of course it crosses your mind after you jam into a wall, and it doesn't really feel very good. It sucks not making the play. I totally put that loss on me.''
Soriano agreed with Harper's sentiment after the game. He too believes the loss can be squarely positioned on the youngster's shoulders.
"With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn't go over your head,'' Soriano said in Spanish.
"It may not have been a catch-able ball, but if we're positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my 4-year-old son, 'You know where you need to play,' and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It's not an excuse, and I'm not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that's how you play the game.''
While there is definitely nothing wrong with voicing an opinion in the clubhouse, doing so through the media may not be the best way to go. Clearly Soriano is frustrated with blowing his second save chance in a row, but perhaps having a one-on-one with Harper would have been much more effective. Especially once he had time to cool off and wasn't so close to the heat of the moment.
Via USA TODAY