After Sean Burnett’s rough outing Wednesday night, Manager Jim Riggleman had to answer some questions about the closer role – mostly, if there even is a true closer now. Riggleman maintained the tack he’s used since spring training, that he’ll use Drew Storen and Burnett depending on match-ups. “I just want to get outs in the ninth inning,” he said. “I don’t even want to use the word (closer).”
Burnett has pitched three straight days, so for tonight it would seem Storen will be the man if the Nationals have a lead in the ninth. But Wednesday night did not change Riggleman’s opinion of Burnett’s place in the bullpen, despite his allowing four earned runs.
“The insinuation there is that he didn’t pitch good,” Riggleman said. “He got a groundball up the middle, he got a soft flare to left and a bunt. So it’s bases loaded and nobody out. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I thought he threw the ball fine.”
If you’re watching the game tonight and notice that there are only three umpires out there, it’s because crew chief Tim McClelland, who was to ump first, has a non-serious medical condition and will not be available. The umps will be stationed at first, home and third.
The Nationals are trying to avoid a sweep. As always, talk about the game right here.