Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2020 CloserUpdated
WASSean DoolittleKyle BarracloughMatt GraceSean Doolittle4/15/19

* = closer-by-committee

Previous updates:

April 15, 2019
Washington Nationals – The Nationals placed Justin Miller on the IL over the weekend. Look for Matt Grace and Wander Suero to get more hold opportunities in his absence.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Barraclough | Grace.

April 4, 2019
Washington Nationals — In three 2019 appearances, Trevor Rosenthal has faced seven batters. All seven have scored. We think he’ll get a break from high-leverage work, and Justin Miller has impressed thus far.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Barraclough | Miller.

February 21, 2019
Washington Nationals – Sean Doolittle (1.60 ERA, 0.60 WHIP in 2018) is doing what he can to make Nationals fans forget that they once had both Blake Treinen and Felipe Vazquez in their midst, and Washington is hoping to support him this year with two offseason acquisitions: former Marlins closer Kyle Barraclough and former Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, who is fresh off of elbow surgery. (Dave Martinez has already said that Rosenthal will get a few save chances, though we’re a bit skeptical, given how good Doolittle has been.) Justin Miller, Matt Grace, Koda Glover, and Sammy Solis should round out this pen, which will likely see its share of saves and holds in support of their three top-tier starting pitchers.

Starting 2019 hierarchy: Doolittle | Rosenthal | Barraclough.
Holds candidates: Rosenthal, Barraclough, Glover.

September 12, 2018
Washington Nationals — Sean Doolittle picked up his first save since returning from the DL in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Philadelphia. Greg Holland, who pitched the eighth inning ahead of Doolittle in game one, tossed a scoreless 10th inning in the nightcap to earn his third save of the year. Doolittle may get some extra rest here and there depending on how cautious the Nats want to be, but he should be their first option in the ninth inning the rest of the year. Holland, meanwhile, has allowed only one earned run in 18 appearances with Washington.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Holland | Miller.

September 9, 2018
Washington Nationals — Sean Doolittle saw his first action in over two months yesterday in game two of the Nationals’ doubleheader.  He got the last two outs of the 8th inning, including one strikeout.  After that inning, the game was delayed by rain and Doolittle would have gotten the save if the game did not resume.  However, the rain stopped and Greg Holland came on to pitch a scoreless 9th inning and record his second save.  It sounds like Doolittle was only used in the 8th because of the threat of rain and may have gotten the 9th in a normal game.  We except Doolittle to see the next save chance.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Miller | Holland.
* = closer-by-committee

September 8, 2018
Washington Nationals — Although their game was rained out yesterday, the Nationals did activate Sean Doolittle from the DL. He hasn’t pitched since July 6, so he may not resume closing immediately, but we expect him to be back in that role sooner rather than later since the Nationals’ committee has been shaky since Doolittle’s injury.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Miller | Holland.
* = closer-by-committee

September 7, 2018
Washington Nationals — Injured hurler Sean Doolittle played catch on Thursday and could be activated from the DL over the weekend. He’d likely take over as closer in short order.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Holland | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

September 2, 2018
Washington Nationals – Justin Miller worked around a leadoff home run in the ninth inning yesterday to lock down his second save.  Meanwhile, Sean Doolittle was encouraged with his simulated game on Friday and is scheduled to throw another one today.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Holland | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

September 1, 2018
Washington Nationals – The Nats traded Ryan Madson to the Dodgers yesterday. Madson never really found his footing with the Nationals and will look to right the ship on the West Coast. Meanwhile, the biggest bust signing of the offseason, Greg Holland, has been really good since being picked up by Washington, only giving up one run in 12 appearances. Holland even snagged a save in his last outing, and he’ll likely replace Madson and look to finish out a forgettable year on a high note.

Updated hierarchy: *Miller | Holland | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

August 29, 2018
Washington Nationals – Justin Miller got a chance at a second straight save on Tuesday, but recorded only one out before allowing back-to-back doubles. The Nationals then turned to Greg Holland to induce one of the strangest game-ending double plays imaginable. Koda Glover had already been used in the eighth when Washington trailed, 3-2, though Glover did face the top of the Phillies’ order. Holland has been very good since arriving in D.C., allowing just one earned run in 9.2 IP, and is firmly in the mix along with Miller, Glover and potential trade target Ryan Madson. Given Miller’s recent workload, Madson has a good chance at a save opportunity tonight after resting last night.

Hierarchy remains: *Miller | Madson | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

August 28, 2018
Washington Nationals – Kelvin Herrera was placed on the DL yesterday, and the Nationals had several options to replace him. To fill his roster spot, they activating another guy who served as their closer for a spell, Ryan Madson. Koda Glover had also recently served as stopper, while Greg Holland is finally finding his stuff (9 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 11 Ks with Washington). So who did the save chance go to last night? Why, obviously that would be Justin Miller, who closed out the Phillies with a clean inning. Despite the surprise usage, Miller has been perfectly decent this season, pitching to a tune of a 3.71 ERA and a 10.5 K/IP ratio, and when it comes closing, success begets further opportunity. Look for Miller to, at worst, share chances with Madson going forward until the Nats get their top arms back from the DL.

Updated hierarchy: *Miller | Madson | Glover.
* = closer-by-committee

August 26, 2018
Washington Nationals — Kelvin Herrera went down with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. Initial x-rays were negative, but Herrera still potentially has some ligament damage and was on crutches in the clubhouse after the game. We expect him to miss a few games at the bare minimum, and the Nationals should return to Koda Glover in the ninth — at least until Ryan Madson returns from the DL.

Updated hierarchy: Glover | Miller | Holland.

August 22, 2018
Washington Nationals — Kelvin Herrera returned from the DL on Tuesday and finished off a 10-4 win with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. With Sean Doolittle still not close to returning from his injury, Herrera has a strong chance to finish the season as the Nationals’ closer.

Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Glover | Miller.

August 17, 2018
Washington Nationals — In a bullpen wracked by injuries, Koda Glover stepped up to earn his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning. Glover should remain first choice for saves with Sean Doolittle, Kelvin Herrera, and Ryan Madson all on the disabled list.

Hierarchy remains: Glover | Miller | Holland.

August 15, 2018
Washington Nationals – Ryan Madson thought he would avoid the disabled list, but it turns out that’s not the case and he’ll become the latest Washington reliever to hit the DL. Prior to Tuesday’s game, Dave Martinez indicated that Koda Glover is now his first option at closer. He also said that Justin Miller would have gotten the ninth on Tuesday if the Nationals were in a save situation since Glover was unavailable. There was some positive news yesterday, as Sean Doolittle threw off a mound for the first time in weeks, but he is still at least a week or two away from returning.

Updated hierarchy: Glover | Miller | Holland.

August 14, 2018
Washington Nationals – Ryan Madson should avoid the DL, so we’ll put the righty back on the hierarchy in what is now a very unsettled bullpen. Koda Glover’s first outing as the would-be closer — he got he ball in the 9th inning of a tie game — ended after 1 batter, as he gave up a walk-off home run to Paul Dejong. Justin Miller and Sammy Solis also gave up runs, while Greg Holland allowed several hard-hit balls in his 0.2 innings of work. But at least the latter didn’t allow any runs? So I guess he gets to stay in the top three for now. At present, this bullpen is among the most wide-open in baseball.

Updated hierarchy: *Glover | Madson | Holland.
* = closer-by-committee

August 13, 2018
Washington Nationals — After hitting two guys and giving up a two-out, two-strike, walk-off, pinch-hit grand slam, Ryan Madson helpfully revealed that he has been suffering from “shooting” pain in his back and leg, limiting his repertoire to fastballs. Even if Madson avoids the DL, we have a hard time imagining a scenario where he gets the next save opportunity — so we expect a committee starring Koda Glover and Justin Miller, with Greg Holland also lurking. Sean Doolittle, possibly throwing off a mound on Monday, can’t get back soon enough for the Nats.

Updated hierarchy: *Glover | Miller | Holland.
* = closer-by-committee

August 9, 2018
Washington Nationals — Dave Martinez confirmed that it’ll be Ryan Madson getting the ninth inning with Kelvin Herrera on the shelf. Justin Miller and Koda Glover will split the set-up role, with Greg Holland lurking as another potential high-leverage option, if he can figure things out. Meanwhile, Sean Doolittle (stress reaction in left foot) has been cleared to throw on flat ground, but is trying not to rush back too soon.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Miller | Glover.

August 8, 2018
Washington Nationals — We told you this morning that Kelvin Herrera was getting an MRI today, and it turns out he has a right rotator cuff impingement that will send him to the DL. Ryan Madson should get the bulk of the save chances in Herrera’s absence, with Justin Miller, the recently called-up Koda Glover and Greg Holland all behind Madson.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Miller | Glover.

August 8, 2018
Washington Nationals — Kelvin Herrera left his ninth-inning appearance on Tuesday with what was announced as right shoulder tightness and will get an MRI on Wednesday. Should Herrera need a stint on the DL, Ryan Madson is a safe bet to take over as closer for the Nationals.

Hierarchy remains: Herrera | Madson | Miller.

August 6, 2018
Washington Nationals – Kelvin Herrera picked up his 17th save of the season on Sunday and has been the only pitcher to get opportunities in Sean Doolittle’s absence. We’re removing his asterisk — admittedly, something we probably could have done a while ago. (The Nats also came to terms with Greg Holland, but we really hope this doesn’t mean anything significant for you.)

Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Madson | Miller.

August 2, 2018
Washington Nationals — Kelvin Herrera allowed a run in the ninth, but hung on to earn his second save as a National. The team will fight for a playoff spot without veteran reliever Shawn Kelley, who was designated for assignment after throwing his glove in frustration when the Mets got within three touchdowns on Tuesday. Kelley’s tantrum was one of the mildest on this fun list of epic sports meltdowns.

Hierarchy remains: *Herrera | Madson | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

August 1, 2018
Washington Nationals — The Nationals traded Brandon Kintzler to the Cubs on Tuesday. Justin Miller (3.66 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 11.81 K/9) could benefit from Kintzler’s absence, especially with Sean Doolittle still on the DL.

Updated hierarchy: *Herrera | Madson | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

July 13, 2018
Washington Nationals — Manager Dave Martinez surprised some by going with recent acquisition Kelvin Herrera in the eighth inning and the struggling Ryan Madson in the ninth. Before the game, Martinez informed Herrera that he’d face the top of the Mets order in the late innings, even if that came before the ninth. Herrera — who has been a bit wild since joining the Nats —  allowed a home run, another hit and a walk but escaped the eighth with just the one run allowed. Madson pitched a clean ninth for the save. With Sean Doolittle out, Herrera is still the most likely save-getter, but it appears he’s entering more of a bullpen ace role, which may mean some opportunities for Madson and Brandon Kintzler, too.

Updated hierarchy: *Herrera | Madson | Kintzler.
* = closer-by-committee

July 11, 2018
Washington Nationals – The Nationals placed Sean Doolittle on the DL yesterday with a left toe injury. Kelvin Herrera will take over the ninth inning in Doolittle’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Madson | Kintzler.

July 10, 2018
Washington Nationals – The Nationals have placed Sean Doolittle on the DL with a left toe injury. Kelvin Herrera is the most likely candidate to close in his place.

Updated hierarchy: Herrera | Madson | Kintzler.

June 26, 2018
Washington Nationals — Brandon Kintzler was activated from the DL on Monday and joins a crowded Nationals bullpen. Dave Martinez likes that Kintzler gets ground balls, and will look for the righty to generate those ground balls in either the sixth inning or seventh inning. If there was a fourth spot in our hierarchy, Kintzler would be there.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Herrera | Madson.

June 19, 2018
Washington Nationals — Kelvin Herrera joins a stacked Nationals bullpen. Sean Doolittle has pitched well in the closer’s role, so Herrera will fit into a setup role, with save chances going to him when Doolittle is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Herrera | Madson.

June 18, 2018
Washington Nationals – For the second straight year, the Nationals have bolstered their bullpen with an in-season deal. Kelvin Herrera likely won’t close for the Nationals, but he’s definitely an option to do so in a deep Nats bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Herrera | Madson.

June 11, 2018
Washington Nationals – Brandon Kintzler was placed on the DL yesterday with a strained forearm. Ryan Madson should be Sean Doolittle’s primary handcuff in Kintzler’s absence, but look for the Nats to also mix and match with Sammy Solis, Tim Collins, and Shawn Kelley.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Madson | Solis.

June 1, 2018
Washington Nationals — The Nationals activated Ryan Madson from the disabled list Thursday. He may be eased back at first, but he should contend for vulture saves when Sean Doolittle needs rest.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Kintzler | Madson.

May 28, 2018
Washington Nationals – Brandon Kintzler picked up his second save of the season, as Sean Doolittle was given the day off. The Vulture Save Watch may have failed to predict Pruitt’s save, but it got this one right.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Kintzler | Kelley.

May 21, 2018
Washington Nationals – After appearing in exactly half of the team’s first 42 games, Ryan Madson was placed on the disabled list with a sore pectoral muscle. Brandon Kintzler should be the main set-up man in his absence, while old friend Shawn Kelley returns to the hierarchy for the first time since last June.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Kintzler | Kelley.

May 13, 2018
Washington Nationals – Ryan Madson pitched a perfect ninth on Saturday to pick up his third save of the season.  Sean Doolittle was unavailable yesterday, and Madson should continue to see save chances when Doolittle cannot go.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.

May 1, 2018
Washington Nationals – With Sean Doolittle getting a day of rest, the Nationals used Ryan Madson in the 8th and Brandon Kintzler in the 9th. It was Kintzler’s first save on the season (Madson has two), and Madson has been the 8th inning man pretty consistently thus far, so we’ll leave the hierarchy as is for now and see if this signals a change going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.

April 17, 2018
Washington Nationals – Ryan Madson picked up the save last night, as Sean Doolittle got a rest after pitching in two straight. Score another one for the Vulture Save Watch.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler. 

April 11, 2018
Washington Nationals – When Sammy Solis got into trouble protecting a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning, Dave Martinez called on Ryan Madson to close the game. Madson did allow an inherited runner to score thanks to a double, but struck out the other two batters he faced to pick up his first save of the year. Sean Doolittle is still the closer, but it’s clear than Madson is the handcuff in Washington.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.

February 28, 2018
Washington Nationals – The NL East favorites have made camels a prominent part of their preseason prep, but go into 2018 with basically the same bullpen that they ended the season with last year, with three mid-2017 acquisitions leading the way. Sean Doolittle, who took over the closer role last year after being acquired from Oakland, will start out in that role for the Nats in 2018, while Ryan Madson handles the 8th inning. Brandon Kintzler could also spell Doolittle occasionally. These three look like the clear cut leaders of this bullpen, with veterans Shawn Kelley and Joaquin Benoit also being potential contributors in the late innings. Last season’s closer in the early going, Koda Glover, reported to Spring Training with a sore shoulder.

Starting 2018 hierarchy: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.
Holds candidates: Madson | Kintzler | Kelley.

October 1, 2017
Washington Nationals – Brandon Kintzler got the call in the ninth inning last night to protect a one run lead.  Kintzler was seeking his 30th save of the season, but unfortunately he gave up four runs and took the loss instead.  With one more regular season game, it’s possible that Kintzler gets another shot, but it’s more likely he will fall just short of the 30 save mark this season.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Kintzler | Madson. 

September 25, 2017
Washington Nationals – It appears that the Nationals aren’t going to pitch Sean Doolittle back to back down the stretch — or, at least, that’s what they declined to do yesterday, despite having only a one run lead in the 9th. But while Ryan Madson has been the 8th inning man since coming over from Oakland, the Nats kept him in his spot and elevated Brandon Kintzler to the closer role, a move that Dusty Baker telegraphed earlier in the week. Though Madson is probably a better option for holds in the season’s final week, Kintzler is a good add for those shopping for last minute saves.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Kintzler | Madson. 

September 24, 2017
Washington Nationals – Remember when the Nationals bullpen was a mess to begin the season?  Well, the relievers acquired at the trade deadline have helped turn that around, and they were on full display Saturday. With the game tied, Brandon Kintzler pitched a scoreless seventh inning, and Ryan Madson struck out the side in a scoreless eighth.  After the Nationals took a one run lead in the tenth inning, Sean Doolittle came on and converted the save.  Doolittle is now 20-for-20 in save opportunities since joining the Nationals.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler. 

September 11, 2017
Washington Nationals – Sean Doolittle got a second consecutive day off after pitching four of the previous five, so the Nationals instead clinched the NL East on the back of an extremely shaky Ryan Madson save. But the fact that Madson converted — and the fact that Brandon Kintzler was ostensibly available and stayed on the bench — suggests that Madson will get future chances when Doolittle is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler. 

September 2, 2017
Washington Nationals — Ryan Madson has been activated from the DL and figures to return to a late-inning role immediately. Dusty Baker is excited, and with good reason: Madson hasn’t given up a run in a Nationals uniform. Madson should fight for the eighth-inning role, but he’ll have to prove he’s ready first. Dusty Baker is also known for letting his players chase milestones, so he may try to get Brandon Kintzler two more saves to reach 30 on the year.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Kintzler | Madson.

September 1, 2017
Washington Nationals — The Nationals are due to call up reliever Enny Romero when rosters expand Friday. He had been on a rehab assignment after going on the disabled list in early August. He’ll certainly factor into the late-inning plans for the new-look bullpen, but we’ll have to wait to see where he lines up in the pecking order.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Kintzler | Albers.

August 25, 2017
Washington Nationals — Sean Doolittle pitched the eighth inning Thursday with a 3-0 lead, allowing a run. One Nationals beat writer says we shouldn’t read much into it, as manager Dusty Baker has mentioned wanting Brandon Kintzler (a free agent at the end of the season) to reach 30 saves. That’s cute, but it almost cost the Nats the win, as Kintzler allowed two runs in the ninth to tie the game. Sammy Solis later closed out the 11th for his first save. Kintzler (who is stuck at 28 saves) admitted after the game that getting 30 saves has been talked about, but Baker had let both relievers know of his plan, which Baker insisted after the game had to do with matchups. He wanted to turn Beltran to the right side against the lefty Doolittle, thus giving Kintzler (a righty), the ninth. If this “30 saves” thing is real, this could become a tricky situation quickly. Stay tuned.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Kintzler | Albers.

August 18, 2017
Washington Nationals — Ryan Madson was placed on the disabled list Thursday because of a sprained finger. Shawn Kelley was activated to take his spot on the roster. It’s a big blow for the Nationals to lose Madson, who hadn’t allowed a run in nine innings of work with his new team. Expect Matt Albers, Enny Romero and perhaps Kelley to see more late-inning chances.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Kintzler | Albers.

August 11, 2017
Washington Nationals — All of a sudden, the Nationals are sporting one of the best bullpens in baseball. The full hierarchy was on display Thursday, with Brandon Kintzler taking the seventh, Ryan Madson the eighth and Sean Doolittle the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.

August 5, 2017
Washington Nationals — Sean Doolittle has emerged as the closer for the Nationals, having been used in that role every night he’s been available. Behind him, Brandon Kintzler pitched the seventh and Ryan Madson the eighth, his sixth straight scoreless appearance since he came to Washington. Dusty Baker says the team will “be nimble” with its bullpen roles and that the three main relievers might still appear in a different order, but we’re still going to drop Doolittle’s asterisk and swap the setup guys.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Madson | Kintzler.

August 1, 2017
Washington Nationals – Brandon Kintzler adds to a cadre of veterans the Nationals have assembled over the last few weeks. Sean Doolittle has done a great job so far — nabbing another save last night before Kintzler got to town — but GM Mike Rizzo wouldn’t name a full-time closer after the trade. We think Doolittle keeps the job and Kintzler is first in line for chances if the lefty falters, but will leave the committee tag on until things are certain.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Kintzler | Madson.
* = closer-by-committee

July 23, 2017
Washington Nationals – Sean Doolittle picked up his second straight save since being traded to the Nationals.  Ryan Madson again pitched the eighth inning ahead of Doolittle.  Dusty Baker also said he would have used Doolittle on Friday if they had a lead in the ninth, so it appears clear Doolittle is the head of the committee for now.  Doolittle has issued a leadoff walk and given up a run in both of his save chances, and that is the only thing keeping us from removing the committee completely.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Madson | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

July 19, 2017
Washington Nationals – Prior to Tuesday’s game, Dusty Baker made clear that he won’t have a traditional closer/setup situation. He wasted no time practicing what he preached, using Ryan Madson in the eighth inning before Sean Doolittle got the ninth and the save. Matchups probably played a part in this decision, as two lefties were due up in the ninth. However, Baker also said that Madson felt more comfortable in the eighth. It truly could be either Doolittle or Madson in the ninth if the Nats have a lead, which means frustration for fantasy owners.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Doolittle | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

July 18, 2017
Washington Nationals – In case you didn’t see our updated post from yesterday, we jumped the gun a bit on Ryan Madson, though we still think he’s the most likely candidate to grab hold of the 9th inning. However, the Nationals are still apparently looking for additional bullpen help, so Madson’s spot as the top dog in the committee could be short-lived. In other news, Koda Glover was moved to the 60-day DL, meaning he can’t pitch again until Aug. 9 at the earliest. Also, the Nationals won by 5 last night, using Matt Grace for the 9th inning, so despite his consecutive saves this weekend, he’s still probably below at least three other players in the committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Doolittle | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

July 17, 2017
Washington Nationals – It’s been nearly a full day since the Nationals traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and finally this morning, we got some insight into how they’ll be used: GM Mike Rizzo told MLB Radio in an interview that the team initially targeted Madson and would not use a closer-by-committee. The inference there was that Madson would get the first crack, but Rizzo might not be done trading, and with a handful of other lefties in the pen, Doolittle could get a look as well.

Updated hierarchy: *Madson | Doolittle | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

July 16, 2017
Washington Nationals — Another night, another awful showing by the Nationals’ bullpen.  They were up 10-0 going into the eighth inning, but had to hold on for a 10-7 victory.  It was Matt Grace for the second straight game recording the save.   Both of Grace’s saves were not your normal save situations, so we won’t quite move him to the top of the committee.   Either way, none of the relievers currently on the hierarchy figure to be a source of saves in a few weeks as we approach the trade deadline.

Updated hierarchy: *Albers | Grace | Romero.
* = closer-by-committee

July 15, 2017
Washington Nationals — When Matt Albers loaded the bases in the ninth inning with a five-run lead, it gave Matt Grace a chance to earn his first career save. Albers’s struggles highlight Washington’s continuing weakness in the bullpen, which we expect to be addressed through trade in the next two weeks. K-Rod, it seems, will not be the answer.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

July 4, 2017
Washington Nationals – Another game, another blown save. Sammy Solis started the ninth with two lefties due up to begin the inning, but sure enough when he was removed in favor of Matt Albers, the Mets pinch hit left-handed Curtis Granderson against Albers and Granderson hit a game-tying two-run homer. After the game, which the Nationals won in their half of the ninth, Dusty Baker said that they’re going to get the bullpen fixed. So they have that going for them. Which is nice.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

July 2, 2017
Washington Nationals – The Nationals designated Jacob Turner for assignment, and activated another lefty Sammy Solis.  Solis gave up a run in his first game back, but could work his way onto the Nationals hierarchy while Glover and Kelley are sidelined.  For now, we will move Blake Treinen into Turner’s spot since he did get the save chance the other night.

Updated hierarchy: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

June 30, 2017
Washington Nationals – As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Matt Albers and Enny Romero each enjoyed an off day. They had good seats to watch Blake Treinen fall behind all seven hitters he faced in the ninth inning en route to blowing a two-run lead. While the Nats are probably still a couple weeks out from going after some legitimate help, they did continue to rummage through MLB’s version of Building 19 and signed Kevin Jepsen to a minor league deal. Because you can never have too many mediocre former closers in the system.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Turner.
* = closer-by-committee

June 27, 2017
Washington Nationals – The Nationals made a low-risk and potentially high-reward signing on Sunday, adding Francisco Rodriguez on a minor league contract. No word on whether they used the donations they received from this fan’s obituary.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Turner.
* = closer-by-committee

June 21, 2017
Washington Nationals – It had been a week since we’d last seen Matt Albers, but on Tuesday night, he needed just 11 pitches to strike out the side in the 9th inning. It was a four-run game, but that’s as dominant of an outing as we’ve seen from any Washington reliever in a while, which means Albers makes his way to the top of the committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Albers | Romero | Turner.
* = closer-by-committee

June 19, 2017
Washington Nationals – The Nationals beleaguered bullpen took another hit on Sunday, with Shawn Kelley going on the DL. Then again, with Kelley and several other Washington relievers performing below replacement level, maybe this won’t actually hurt them very much.

Updated hierarchy: *Romero | Albers | Turner.
* = closer-by-committee

June 18, 2017
Washington Nationals – Enny Romero got the last five outs in yesterday’s Nationals’ win to record his second save of the season.  Romero has not given up an earned run in June, and moves to the top of the committee on the virtue of actually converting a save chance.

Updated hierarchy: *Romero | Albers | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

June 13, 2017
Washington Nationals – With Koda Glover sidelined, Matt Albers got the last out of the 8th inning and then stuck around to try and close the door in the 9th. But he walked two of the first three hitters he faced, and then allowed a three-run dinger to Tyler Flowers. After the game, Baker called Albers “our most dependable guy” and mentioned that basically everyone who pitched on Monday gave up a home run, so they might just run Albers right back out for another save chance tomorrow. They could also look to mix and match with Shawn Kelley and Enny Romero/Oliver Perez, and with no one in the clear driver’s seat, we’ll slap the committee tag on and monitor usage going forward.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Kelley | Romero.
* = closer-by-committee

June 11, 2017
Washington Nationals – Koda Glover has been placed on the DL with a sore back. Matt Albers has been the best reliever in the Nats bullpen lately, though Shawn Kelley could also get a chance.

Updated hierarchy: Albers | Kelley | Romero.

June 11, 2017
Washington Nationals – Koda Glover blew the save last night, but the bigger concern is his back.  Glover tweaked his back yesterday before the game, but tried to pitch through the injury.  It is unclear if Glover will miss time, but if he does, it could be Matt Albers taking over.  Albers threw two scoreless innings yesterday with four strikeouts.  Shawn Kelley on the other hand, gave up three more runs last night and saw his ERA jump over 7.00 for the season.  We will continue to monitor Glover’s status.

Updated hierarchy: Glover | Albers | Kelley.

June 6, 2017
Washington Nationals – Koda Glover got the night off in the wake of his terrible outing on Sunday, and Oliver Perez became the sixth Nat to record a save this season through just 56 games. Matt Albers started the 9th and got the first two outs before giving way to Perez; Shawn Kelley was warming in case he was needed. Glover should return to the role tonight.

Hierarchy remains: Glover | Kelley | Albers.

June 5, 2017
Washington Nationals – Koda Glover came on to get the last out of the 8th, but he melted down in the 9th, allowing the first five hitters to reach base (4 singles and a walk). Shawn Kelley came on and gave up a grand slam, scoring all the inherited runners, but then settled down and got the last two outs to pick up his fourth save. Glover has been great, and had a decent excuse for last night in that the Nationals had a very long turn at bat in the top of the 9th, so he probably got a bit cold. His job should be safe for now.

Hierarchy remains: Glover | Kelley | Albers.

May 26, 2017
Washington Nationals – Dusty Baker made it official late Wednesday night, naming Koda Glover his full-time closer. We’ll remove the asterisk to make it officially official.

Updated hierarchy: Glover | Kelley | Albers.

May 22, 2017
Washington Nationals – Koda Glover entered Sunday’s game with two outs in the 8th and the tying run on second base, striking out Nick Markakis to maintain the Nationals’ slim lead. He then stayed on for the 9th, wrapping up the 3-2 victory and taking a step towards kicking his asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Glover | Kelley | Albers.
* = closer-by-committee

May 17, 2017
Washington Nationals – Koda Glover got the 9th inning on Tuesday with a four-run lead, though he was warming in the 8th with the Nats ahead by two. Glover got two quick outs before laboring a bit, but he eventually closed out the win after 29 pitches. When asked after the game if Glover was the closer, Dusty Baker said, “We’ll see.” We’ll move Glover to the top of the committee given tonight’s events, though don’t be surprised if Kelley gets a look on Wednesday thanks to Glover’s lengthy outing.

Updated hierarchy: *Glover | Kelley | Albers. 
* = closer-by-committee

May 15, 2017
Washington Nationals – Shawn Kelley’s second outing back from the disabled list was a poor one, as he allowed a 3-1 lead to slip away in the 9th inning against the Phillies in the first game of the Nats’ doubleheader. Koda Glover played a role as well, allowing the go-ahead single, but all three runs were charged to Kelley, whose ERA now sits at 7.15, and that’s enough to earn him his dreaded asterisk back. Matt “The Cat” Albers, who earned the save in game 2 and has a sub-1 ERA, is lurking.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Glover | Albers. 
* = closer-by-committee

May 13, 2017
Washington Nationals — Wholesale substitutions in the Washington bullpen, as both Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover returned from the disabled list on a rainy Friday. With both guys coming back at the same time, it looks like Kelley will take over the ninth, with Glover taking the eighth.

Updated hierarchy: Kelley | Glover | Albers.

May 12, 2017
Washington Nationals — The Nationals’ bullpen is about to get a much-needed boost. Koda Glover has said since earlier this week that he’s ready go, and manager Dusty Baker said there’s a real possibility he is activated Friday. Washington tends to take its time with healing relief pitchers — they did so with Glover — but if they feel they need more help, Shawn Kelley is eligible to return from the DL Friday, too.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

May 11, 2017
Washington Nationals — Shawn Kelley threw a successful simulated game on Wednesday; both he and Koda Glover could be back with the Nationals by this weekend. Matt Albers pitched nicely in their stead today, striking out the side and earning the walk-off win.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

May 10, 2017
Washington Nationals — With the Nationals leading by two, Dusty Baker opted to use Enny Romero in the ninth instead of Matt Albers, saying after the game that he thought the Orioles due up hit righties better than lefties. That theory was debunked, as Romero blew the save in a game the Nationals lost in extra innings. Koda Glover is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment today and could come off the DL this weekend. Until then, expect Albers to get the bulk of the save chances.

Hierarchy remains: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

May 6, 2017
Washington Nationals — Ryan Webb’s record string of 105 games finished without a save just got a lot more secure. Matt Albers — whose own streak had reached 102 — finally has career save #1. Koda Glover is expected back soon, and we still think he will take over the ninth inning (at least until reinforcements come via trade), but Albers is the leader in the meantime.

Updated hierarchy: *Albers | Romero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

May 5, 2017
Washington Nationals — After a battle with illness, Shawn Kelley is headed to the disabled list with a back strain. With Koda Glover’s return apparently still a few days off, the Nationals will be forced to choose from among Matt Albers, Joe Blanton, Enny Romero, and Blake Treinen. The guy who’ll finish with the most saves for this team probably isn’t on the roster yet, but if you have to own one Washington reliever, we’d still recommend Glover.

Updated hierarchy: *Albers | Treinen | Romero.
* = closer-by-committee

May 5, 2017
Washington Nationals — With current closer Shawn Kelley still sick (and no guarantee he’ll be ready today), the Nationals opted to play the matchups to get through the ninth after Matt Albers pitched a scoreless eighth. They first turned to Joe Blanton, who coughed up a home run, throwing only two pitches before he was yanked. Enny Romero came on to close the door for his first save. He’s actually the fourth National with a save already this season. One writer called Albers (0.00 ERA) the team’s new setup man over Blake Treinen, and we agree, at least until Koda Glover returns from injury. Glover’s return could be as early as this weekend.

Updated hierarchy: Kelley | Albers | Treinen.

May 4, 2017
Washington Nationals — Shawn Kelley has been unavailable the last two games with an illness, so the Nationals let Jacob Turner finish a 2-1 win with his fourth strong inning in relief. Kelley has made only one appearance since Koda Glover went on the DL last week, and with Glover returning this weekend, we foresee a return of the committee asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: Kelley | Treinen | Albers.

April 27, 2017
Washington Nationals — Shawn Kelley will have the chance to run with the Nationals’ closer job now that Koda Glover is headed to the DL with pain in his left hip, the same one that troubled him at the end of last season. Matt Albers and Joe Blanton will rise in Glover’s absence, and Blanton’s early struggles (10.13 ERA) give Albers the edge.

Updated hierarchy: Kelley | Treinen | Albers.

April 24, 2017
Washington Nationals – Sunday marked two saves in two days for Koda Glover, though it’s worth mentioning that he was not tasked with starting the 9th inning on either occasion. Yesterday this actually made his job harder, as Oliver Perez allowed a hit to the only batter he faced, meaning Glover started his outing with nobody out and a man on. But with a three-run lead, Glover closed the door, striking out one batter in the process. Shawn Kelley remains at the top of this committee, having picked up three saves in three outings earlier this week, but the Nationals appear to have two players capable of doing this job.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Glover | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

April 23, 2017
Washington Nationals – With Shawn Kelley getting the day off, Koda Glover picked up a one-out save. Hope you’ve been reading your Vulture Save Watch.

Hierarchy remains: Kelley | Glover | Treinen.

April 21, 2017
Washington Nationals — The new Nationals closer committee got off on the right foot Thursday, with Koda Glover nailing down the final two outs of the eighth and Shawn Kelley finishing things off in the ninth for his second save. Expect Kelley to get the bulk of the opportunities, for now.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Glover | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

April 20, 2017
Washington Nationals — A 10-run win means the new Nationals closer committee will have to wait for its big debut. Expect Shawn Kelley to get the first shot, but because he probably won’t be used in back-to-back games, Koda Glover could see a fair amount of chances too.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Glover | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

April 19, 2017
Washington Nationals – As expected, Dusty Baker announced that Blake Treinen will no longer be his closer. Slightly less expected was a committee, as Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover will share duties. The reasoning for this to not pitch Kelley every day due to injury concern, so do expect Glover to see some save opportunities. Treinen will return to the fireman role he had last year.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Glover | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

April 19, 2017
Washington Nationals – Blake Treinen and his 7.11 ERA struggled again on Tuesday, recording only one out while walking two and giving up two hits. One of those walks brought in a run and led to Dusty Baker calling on Shawn Kelley to get the save. After the game, Baker said he is considering a change at closer, with Kelley the likely replacement. We should find out Wednesday who will be the new Washington closer.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Kelley | Glover.

April 7, 2017
Washington Nationals – Nationals manager Dusty Baker had to give the dreaded vote of confidence Thursday after his bullpen gave up slim leads in the eighth and ninth innings before losing the game in extras: “I mean, my bullpen — I love my bullpen,” Baker said. “These guys are going to be one of the best, if they’re not already.” Every name you know pitched, including Koda Glover with a clean 7th and Shawn Kelley with 2 runs allowed in the 8th in his season debut. Saddled with another lead in the ninth, Baker may have opted to play the matchups (or was Blake Treinen slow to warm up?), bringing in lefty Sammy Solis to start the ninth. Solis allowed a hit and a walk before getting a double play that sent the runner to third. In came Treinen, who allowed a game-tying single with two strikes before recording a strikeout. Joe Blanton continued the bullpen woes, allowing three hits and a run to take the loss. As for the late-innings hierarchy, Treinen’s job is safe — he converted his first two saves easily before last night — but where everyone else lines up is still a bit of a mystery.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Glover | Kelley.

March 30, 2017
Washington Nationals — Blake Treinen has been named the closer for Washington; Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley will set him up in the late innings.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Glover | Kelley.

March 30, 2017
Washington Nationals — Still no clarity in D.C., where the front office loves what it sees from Koda Glover, but hasn’t been ready to commit to him over sinkerballer Blake Treinen and fragile-armed Shawn Kelley. The latest media speculation is that Treinen’s durability could give him the edge. We may not have an answer until the Nationals take on the Marlins next Monday.

Hierarchy remains: *Glover | Treinen | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

March 22, 2017
Washington Nationals — Opening Day is just 12 days away, but Dusty Baker claims to have given no thought whatsoever to who will be closing for Washington. With most of the Nats’ big relievers pitching in minor league games, Koda Glover has been getting the bulk of the ninth innings for the big club — and Jon Heyman has reported that Shawn Kelley is no longer a candidate to close. Glover turns 24 next month, creating some concern about whether he can handle the role, but we think that Baker’s confidence in Glover’s skills (“We like us some Koda. Big time.”) and the manager’s preference for settled bullpen roles gives the youngster the advantage over Blake Treinen. Meanwhile, Joe Nathan’s strong spring might not be enough to allow him to survive Friday’s opt-out date on his contract.

Updated hierarchy: *Glover | Treinen | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

March 1, 2017
Washington Nationals — The Nationals head into 2017 with World Series hopes, but no proven closer in the back of their bullpen. Dusty Baker doesn’t seem too worried about it, with early indications pointing towards Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen as the most likely candidates. A late-spring trade remains a possibility for the reigning NL East champions, and another outside possibility is Joe Nathan, who has Baker intrigued despite averaging only 91 mph on his fastball last year. The 42-year-old will have to make the roster first, though. For now, we’ll give Kelley the slight edge.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: *Kelley | Treinen | Nathan.
* = closer-by-committee
Holds candidates: Nathan, Koda Glover, Sammy Solis, Oliver Perez.

September 24, 2016
Washington Nationals — Koda Glover has struggled over the last two weeks, posting a 10.13 ERA and 1.88 WHIP. Meanwhile, Blake Treinen has put up 12 straight scoreless outings (six holds, one blown save) since his five-run debacle on August 24.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Kelley | Treinen.

September 3, 2016
Washington Nationals — Mark Rzepczynski got the first two outs of the seventh inning Friday before he walked and hit a batter. Dusty Baker then turned to 23-year-old Koda Glover to protect the one-run lead. Glover struck out Jose Reyes to end the frame, then stayed on in the 8th to face the heart of the Mets order and pick up his second hold of the year. He has had a solid first 10 games and Baker was quick to praise him after the win. Rzepczynski has been excellent for years, but he is still mostly a left-handed specialist.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Kelley | Glover.

September 1, 2016
Washington Nationals — After five appearances in six days, the Nationals finally gave Mark Melancon a breather. Lefthander Marc “Scrabble” Rzepczynski started the ninth inning against a switch hitter and a lefty, leaving just the final out for Shawn Kelley. Since arriving in a trade from Oakland late last week, Rzepczynski has seen immediate use in the late innings, including eighth-inning holds on Monday and Wednesday. Dusty Baker has a history of trusting lefthanded relievers (Sean Marshall, Aroldis Chapman, Felipe Rivero), and it looks like Scrabble could be his latest.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Kelley | Rzepczynski.

August 14, 2016
Washington Nationals — The Nationals released former closer Jonathan Papelbon yesterday.  Papelbon has been rumored to have interest in going back to the Red Sox, and the Cubs could also be a landing spot given their recent injury woes.  Blake Treinen should see time in the later innings for the Nationals with Papelbon gone.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Kelley | Treinen.

July 31, 2016
Washington Nationals — Newly acquired Mark Melancon has been confirmed as the new closer for the Washington Nationals. The Nationals former closer Jonathan Papelbon was reportedly on board with the trade, but this is the first time Papelbon will not be closing games since 2005.  Papelbon has really struggled recently, and he is going to need to pitch better if he wants to see some save chances when Melancon is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Papelbon | Kelley.

July 30, 2016
Washington Nationals — The Nationals acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for multiple players, including Felipe Rivero. Melancon, who has been excellent this season, is expected to take over the ninth inning for Jonathan Papelbon.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Papelbon | Kelley.

July 30, 2016
Washington Nationals — After the Nationals’ bullpen was rescued in the eighth by a triple play, Felipe Rivero headed out for the save situation. Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable after pitching in four of the last six games. Rivero got the first two outs before giving up a single and being pulled for Shawn Kelley, who secured the vulture save. Although GM Mike Rizzo gave Papelbon a vote of confidence after the game, Dusty Baker suggested that the righthander would be examined after the game and could be headed to the DL. Whether it’s an injury, trade, or straight-up demotion, either way Papelbon is sitting on a burning hot seat.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

July 29, 2016
Washington Nationals — While the East Coast was sleeping, there was some late-innings drama in San Francisco when beleaguered closer Jonathan Papelbon entered the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead. He recorded one out, but allowed a single and a walk before he was pulled from the game, which had social media speculating his status as closer was in jeopardy. Oliver Perez made it interesting, allowing an inherited runner to score, but he and Shawn Kelley combined to strike out the final two hitters to secure a Nats victory. After the game, manager Dusty Baker said pulling Papelbon was what he had to do to try to win the game, and that while it was too early to make a decision on Papelbon, he said the team “certainly (has) to figure something out there.” He also expressed concerns about Papelbon’s velocity, which could mean a DL stint or bullpen demotion is near.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

July 28, 2016
Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon and Shawn Kelley were each unavailable on Wednesday afternoon, so Felipe Rivero got a shot at a vulture save. After he stumbled, Blake Treinen earned his first career save with a timely double play. With Papelbon struggling, Washington is in the market for Andrew Miller, although Kelley could provide a perfectly serviceable in-house option.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

July 27, 2016
Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon suffered his second loss in as many outings, blowing a three-run lead in the ninth without recording an out. He has now allowed six earned runs in his last two appearances, raising his ERA from 2.56 to 4.45. After the game, Papelbon’s confidence in himself hasn’t wavered, but manager Dusty Baker may not share that same confidence. He said it was “too soon after the loss” to think about removing Papelbon from the closer’s role, but with the Nationals having lost six of eight and still clinging to first place in the NL East, they may begin to look elsewhere for help before August 1.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

July 4, 2016
Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon was activated from the DL this morning and will resume closing immediately. Shawn Kelley did a serviceable job in his place, but didn’t do nearly enough to raise a discussion about the role going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

June 28, 2016
Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless, 10-pitch inning for the Nationals last night – the single-A Potomac Nationals, that is – before joining the big club later in the evening. Amazingly, it was Papelbon’s first ever rehab start in his long career. According to Pap, he “felt great” and is expected later this week. Until then, Shawn Kelley is the closer in DC.

Hierarchy remains: Kelley | Rivero | Treinen.

June 18, 2016
Washington Nationals — With Shawn Kelley unavailable, and Blake Treinen used to get out of a jam in the 7th, the save opportunity fell to Yusmeiro Petit. Petit worked around a leadoff single to close the game out for his second career save. Although he has pitched well recently,  Petit is still a longshot for saves going forward, even with Jonathan Papelbon on the DL.

Hierarchy remains: Kelley | Rivero | Treinen.

June 17, 2016
Washington Nationals — When Felipe Rivero ran into trouble in the ninth inning Thursday night, manager Dusty Baker turned again to Shawn Kelley, who retired the two batters he faced to close it out for his second save. After the game, Baker named Kelley the closer until Jonathan Papelbon returns from the DL, though Kelley’s workload will be watched. With the closer-by-committee tag gone, be sure to snag him if he’s still available in your league.

Hierarchy remains: Kelley | Rivero | Treinen.

June 16, 2016
Washington Nationals — Dusty Baker celebrated his 67th birthday by playing matchups in the ninth, calling on the newly healthy Matt Belisle, followed by lefthander Oliver Perez. The two combined to blow the save with a double and a home run, and it was good ol’ Shawn Kelley who wound up finishing the ninth. Combine the plethora of above-average relievers in the Nationals’ pen with Kelley’s injury history, and you have a recipe to tempt Dusty into full-on committee mode. But we’re keeping the faith that Kelley can earn the job.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Rivero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

June 14, 2016
Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon has been placed on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain. Shawn Kelley (13.1 K/9, 1.96 FIP) was last night’s closer, and we think he has the edge at picking up save opportunities during Papelbon’s absence. He has had two Tommy John surgeries, however. Dusty Baker says the choice might depend on matchups, though, so Felipe Rivero, a lefthander with a 95 MPH fastball, is another key option. The Nationals shouldn’t miss a beat in middle relief, as Blake Treinen and Sammy Solis have been very effective, but Papelbon’s injury may also push them into trade talks a little earlier than anticipated.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Rivero | Treinen.
* = closer-by-committee

June 14, 2016
Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon (aka the “D.C. Strangler”) stayed firmly planted on the Nationals’ dugout bench last night, while Shawn Kelley pitched a five-out save against the Cubs. After the game, Dusty Baker commented that Pap was “sore” and “ailing,” but claimed that the soreness was not arm-related. This confusing development comes as Pap is putting up career-low strikeout numbers and has clearly lost some juice on his fastball. Baker said that Pap will be evaluated today; we’ll be keeping an eye on the situation.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

May 14, 2016
Washington Nationals — Dusty Baker used lefty Felipe Rivero to start the ninth to maximize the platoon advantage, then went to Jonathan Papelbon for the last two outs and the save. Nothing to see here.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

May 8, 2016
Washington Nationals — For the second night in a row, Blake Treinen came on in the sixth inning. Shawn Kelley has a 0.00 ERA and has been pitching later in games than Treinen. Kelley was signed this off-season to be the primary set-up man for Jonathan Papelbon, and it looks like he is finally starting to pitch like he deserves to be in that role.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

April 15, 2016
Washington Nationals — Felipe Rivero has been pitching well, earning the late-inning trust of manager Dusty Baker. Rivero got the final four outs for the Nats in a four-run game Thursday, just two days after picking up his first save of the season.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Treinen | Rivero.

April 13, 2016
Washington Nationals – Blake Treinen was in line for a vulture save after a pair of ninth-inning strikeouts, but a walk led to Felipe Rivero taking over and earning his first save of the year. Shawn Kelley had already pitched.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Treinen | Kelley.

April 12, 2016
Washington Nationals – For the second day in a row, Blake Treinen was tapped to pitch the eighth inning ahead of Jonathan Papelbon in a save situation. For the moment, the 27-year old right-hander seems to be the set-up guy in D.C.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Treinen | Kelley.

April 11, 2016
Washington Nationals – Blake Treinen got the 8th inning ahead of Jonathan Papelbon on Sunday, and has now started his year with a win and a hold in two scoreless outings. His newfound spot on the hierarchy is nothing against Felipe Rivero, who has a live arm and could be a closer down the line; rather, it’s a showcase of what a deep bullpen the Nationals have assembled. Between Treinen, Rivero, and Shawn Kelley, the Nationals have a number of strong relievers who could nab holds ahead of Papelbon.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Kelley | Treinen.

March 2, 2016
Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon’s first act of the spring was to apologize for being the worst, and to his credit, his teammates seem to be enjoying his presence. So we’ll continue to recommend him as a reliable source for saves who will likely fall in your draft just because people don’t like him very much. (He hasn’t averaged a strikeout per inning in three years, but has compensated by mostly keeping the ball in the ballpark and issuing hardly any walks.) Shawn Kelley was signed to a 3-year, $15 million deal in the offseason and is loosely penciled in to the 8th inning role, but the Nationals have a lot of nice depth, also boasting promising youngsters Felipe Rivero, Trevor Gott, and Blake Treinen, along with veterans Yusmeiro Petit and Oliver Perez. We’ll figure on Rivero being the 7th inning man for now.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.
Holds candidates: Kelley, Rivero, Gott.

October 4, 2015
Washington Nationals — Felipe Rivero struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning yesterday to record his second save of the season.  Rivero has impressed in converting both of his save chances since the Papelbon fiasco and the rookie should play an important role in the Nationals bullpen next year.

Hierarchy remains: *Rivero | Treinen | Thornton.
* = closer-by-committee

October 2, 2015
Washington Nationals — Felipe Rivero grabbed the first save chance for the post-Papelbon Nationals, delivering two perfect innings and earning praise from Matt Williams. Meanwhile, Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer have honored Papelbon with a new handshake, and Nats fans are pledging thousands of dollars to charity if the team cuts their ex-closer and eats his $11 million 2016 option.

Updated hierarchy: *Rivero | Treinen | Thornton.
* = closer-by-committee

September 29, 2015
Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon has been suspended for for games by the Nationals — essentially the rest of the season due to the three-game MLB suspension he’s about to serve for a separate incident — after getting into a dugout altercation that involved him choking Bryce Harper. As mentioned yesterday, we expect him to be replaced by a committee including Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, Casey Janssen, and Matt Thornton. Thornton finished yesterday’s game with a 4-run lead (and was warming in a 3-run game before the Nats extended it in the 9th), so we’ll start him off at the top of the closer-by-committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Thornton | Treinen | Janssen.
* = closer-by-committee

September 28, 2015
Washington Nationals – We thought that Jonathan Papelbon would be suspended for only three games, but it turns out that his season is now over. The team announced that it has suspended Papelbon for four games for his role in choking Bryce Harper. This will be in addition to his three-game suspension from the MLB that he will begin serving immediately. We suspect the team will move to a committee for the remainder of the season, with Blake Treinen leading the mediocre array of arms.

Updated hierarchy: *Treinen | Rivero | Janssen.
* = closer-by-committee.

September 28, 2015
Washington Nationals – Putting up ho-hum closer numbers since coming over via trade, Jonathan Papelbon hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Nationals fans just yet, so he decided the best way to win them over was to go all Homer Simpson on their best and most popular player. The scrum developed after Harper didn’t run hard on a pop fly, and Papelbon — always a poster child for giving it his all, even when the playoffs are out of the picture — took exception. With the Nats now eliminated from playoff contention — and Papelbon probably not especially welcome in the clubhouse right now anyway — expect him to drop his appeal and serve his suspension any day now. As mentioned previously, we figure on a committee for save chances in his absence.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Treinen | Rivero.

September 26, 2015
Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon was handed a three-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado’s head on Wednesday night. Papelbon’s pending appeal will allow him to be on the bench — or maybe even the mound! — when his old team eliminates Washington from the playoffs, as early as Saturday. When Papelbon finally does sit out, the Nats have a vast array of mediocre options to take his spot. Matt Thornton has been seeing more LOOGYish usage lately, so we’d put him a hair behind Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero, and Casey Janssen at this point. You’ll probably be better off avoiding the whole lot.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Treinen | Rivero.

September 18, 2015
Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable for Thursday’s game due to a high fever. If Papelbon is unavailable again Friday, look for Matt Thornton, Felipe Rivero or Casey Janssen to get the save chance.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Thornton | Rivero.

September 15, 2015
Washington Nationals – Pitching for the first time in 12 days, former starter Doug Fister picked up his first career save in the 11th inning against the Phillies. Jonathan Papelbon blew the save in the 9th inning, but his spot is safe, especially since Drew Storen’s self-inflicted hand injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Thornton | Rivero.

September 13, 2015
Washington Nationals – The Washington Nationals have likely lost Drew Storen for the season after injuring his right thumb.  Matt Williams mentioned several options to replace Drew Storen, including Casey Janssen, Matt Thornton, Blake Treinen and Felipe Rivero.  Janssen has given up nine runs in his last six appearances and taken three loses during that time.  Blake Treinen has also struggled recently, giving up five runs in his last five appearances.  Matt Thornton has made eleven straight scoreless appearances so we will slot him into Storen’s spot for now.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Thornton | Rivero.

September 7, 2015
Washington Nationals – A few rough outings over the past couple weeks have dropped Casey Janssen down a peg or two in the Nationals hierarchy; yesterday, he finished off the sixth inning while young Felipe Rivero got the 7th. Despite being a lefty, Rivero has been pitching full innings (35 appearances, 37.2 IP, 2.63 ERA), and he has 32 strikeouts against just four unintentional walks. Look for him to get a few more holds as the Nationals try and rally down the stretch.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Storen | Rivero.

August 13, 2015
Washington Nationals – Demoted after the Jonathan Papelbon trade, Drew Storen looked like a man on a mission, racking up nine strikeouts over five hitless innings. But over his last three outings, Storen has been a wreck, taking consecutive losses against the Rockies and letting the game get out of hand last night against the Dodgers. In total, he’s allowed 8 ERs over those three appearances, more than doubling his ERA (1.52 to 3.07). We won’t push him down the hierarchy yet, but with the Nationals starting to lose ground in the standings, they might be quick to push Casey Janssen into a larger role. Janssen has posted 10 scoreless appearances in his last 11 outings.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Storen | Janssen.

July 31, 2015
Washington Nationals — In a game that resembled a potential setup for Game 1 of the playoffs, Max Scherzer went seven scoreless innings for the Nationals, demoted closer Drew Storen pitched a clean eighth inning for his first hold of the season, and the newly acquired Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his first save with Washington. Expect a similar look the rest of the way for the Nats bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Storen | Janssen.

July 29, 2015
Washington Nationals — Jonathan Papelbon was officially traded to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. This is bad news for Drew Storen owners, as Papelbon said he would only waive his no-trade clause if he was going to continue to close games on the other side. Papelbon, for all his general repulsiveness, is still a very good closer. With a strong Washington team behind him, he’s among the favorites to lead the league in saves the rest of the way. Storen, meanwhile, becomes one of the best middle relievers in baseball.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Storen | Janssen.

July 28, 2015
Washington NationalsPer Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and the MLB Network, Jonathan Papelbon has officially been traded to the Washington Nationals. This is bad news for Drew Storen owners, as Papelbon said he would only waive his no-trade clause if he was going to continue to close games on the other side. Papelbon, for all his general repulsiveness, is still a very good closer. With a strong Washington team behind him, he’s among the favorites to lead the league in saves the rest of the way. Storen, meanwhile, becomes one of the best middle relievers in baseball.

Updated hierarchy: Papelbon | Storen | Janssen.

July 18, 2015
Washington Nationals — A “barking” shoulder has landed new father David Carpenter on the disabled list, but Aaron Barrett, who returned from injury right before the break, should resume the primary seventh inning role for the Nats.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Janssen | Barrett.

July 7, 2015
Washington Nationals — After the birth of his first child on Monday, David Carpenter will be out a few days on paternity leave. Matt Thornton and Blake Treinen could see increased usage in his absence.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Janssen | Thornton.

June 20, 2015
Washington Nationals — Former Yankee David Carpenter has paid immediate dividends in the Nationals bullpen, giving the team four straight scoreless appearances — the most recent in the eighth inning ahead of Drew Storen on Friday night. The Nats, who became familiar with Carpenter during his successful tenure with their NL East foes in Atlanta, hope that he can regain some of his former glory.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Janssen | Carpenter.

June 12, 2015
Washington Nationals — Aaron Barrett had a tough outing and was saddled with the loss. Pitching in a tie game in the seventh inning, Barrett gave up a home run and threw a wild pitch before being pulled from the game during an at-bat with an apparent injury. After the game, manager Matt Williams said Barrett was “uncomfortable” on the mound and will need to be evaluated on Friday. Barrett is likely headed to the DL, so Blake Treinen moves into his role in the Nationals hierarchy. With Washington’s bullpen in disarray, the team also recently traded for Yankee washout David Carpenter.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Janssen | Treinen.

May 25, 2015
Washington Nationals – After he pitched a scoreless inning in his Nats debut Saturday, Casey Janssen was given a high-leverage opportunity, getting the last two outs of the 8th inning on Sunday ahead of Drew Storen. If he continues to pitch well, then Janssen would likely be someone that Matt Williams would look to on nights when Storen was unavailable. He has the prior closing experience that managers crave, and might be a good add in holds leagues since he figures to get more 8th inning looks.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Janssen | Barrett.

May 23, 2015
Washington Nationals — Casey Janssen has returned from the disabled list, but Matt Williams wasn’t quite sure how he’ll use him. Second in line seems a fair estimate until we get more information.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Barrett | Janssen.

May 16, 2015
Washington Nationals — When A.J. Cole is inducted into the Hall of Fame in July 2039, alongside a surprisingly spry, 98-year-old Pete Rose, last night — an otherwise meaningless, three-inning save in a 10-0 Nats blowout — will be remembered as the magic moment when it all began.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Barrett | Roark.

May 7, 2015
Washington Nationals — According to ESPN Insider Eric Karabell, Tanner Roark may take Stephen Strasburg’s spot in the rotation if his injury requires a stint on the DL. While this isn’t official yet, Roark has been one of the most effective arms in the Nationals’ bullpen, picking up his first save on Tuesday. He added his third hold of the year last night, but if he ends up sticking in the rotation then look for Blake Tiernan to be the third option until Casey Janssen, who will start a rehab assignment today, returns to the roster.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Barrett | Roark.

May 5, 2015
Washington Nationals — Tanner Roark picked up his first career save after the Nationals gave up and subsequently regained the lead late in the ballgame. Drew Storen had pitched two days in a row and three of the last four.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Barrett | Roark.

May 2, 2015
Washington Nationals – Blake Treinen’s wildness cost him again last night, as he entered the game with two men on base, walked the first hitter he faced, and then gave up a 3-run double. Treinen has now issued 7 free passes in 11.1 innings, and has a WHIP approaching 2. Aaron Barrett is now the reliever more likely to get a save chance on nights when Drew Storen is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Barrett | Treinen.

April 12, 2015
Washington Nationals – The Nationals went to Blake Treinen in the 8th inning yesterday to protect a lead.  Treinen was successful in that same spot on Wednesday but couldn’t get the job done yesterday.  This is a new role for Treinen but it sounds like manager Matt Williams would like to give Treinen a shot at locking down the 8th inning ahead of closer Drew Storen.  Casey Janssen felt good after throwing on Friday and should factor into the late inning bullpen plans for the Nationals when he is able to return.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Treinen | Barrett.

April 6, 2015
Washington Nationals – With no timetable on Casey Janssen’s return, the Nationals are expected to use a trio of relievers — Aaron Barrett, Matt Thornton, and Blake Treinen — to get the big outs ahead of Drew Storen. Thornton is more of a LOOGY at this point, and while he could get matchup-based holds here and there, it’s more likely that Barrett or Treinen is elevated into a save spot on when Storen is unavailable. Matt Williams hasn’t given any indication of his favorite so far.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Barrett | Treinen.

March 31, 2015
Washington Nationals – The injury bug has been buzzing around the Nats clubhouse all spring, and their top two relievers have gotten bit. Drew Storen left a game yesterday after popping a blister on his foot. He doesn’t expect to miss any regular season time, but Casey Janssen might — the set-up man has been battling shoulder tendonitis. Craig Stammen stands to inherit 8th inning duties if Janssen is out.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Janssen | Stammen.

March 9, 2015
Washington Nationals – With Rafael Soriano gone and Tyler Clippard shipped off to Oakland, Drew Storen finally has the closer job all to himself. Aside from a bumpy 2013, Storen has excelled thanks in part to a unique delivery that sees him turn his back to the hitter and then throw entirely across his body. (Related: We miss you, Paul Edinger.) Casey Janssen signed a 1-year, $3.5 million contract in the offseason and will get any save chances when Storen needs a night off. We’ll give the second in line spot to Craig Stammen for now, based on experience alone, though we do like Aaron Barrett to crack the hierarchy at some point.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Storen | Janssen | Stammen.
Holds candidates: Janssen | Barrett.

September 22, 2014
Washington Nationals – With their focus on the postseason, the Nationals left their top two relievers — both of whom had pitched in back to back games — in the bullpen on Sunday and handed the save chance to embattled former closer Rafael Soriano. Soriano converted, but didn’t do much to make a case for himself to return to his old role, allowing a run to score.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Clippard | Soriano.

September 16, 2014
Washington Nationals – Rafael Soriano got the ninth with a 4-0 lead, and while he retired two batters, he also allowed two doubles and a walk before giving way to Drew Storen, who allowed one inherited runner to score before escaping with the save. Not a strong performance from Soriano, who likely needed to impress in order to start challenging Storen for save chances.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Clippard | Soriano.

September 15, 2014
Washington Nationals – Sunday’s scoreless ninth marked four straight saves (and 16 straight scoreless appearances) for Drew Storen, which is enough for him to shake his asterisk for the time being. Given the righty’s recent dominance, it’s unlikely that Rafael Soriano reclaims his job.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Clippard | Soriano.

September 11, 2014
Washington Nationals — Rafael Soriano returned from a five-day hiatus to pitch in a low-leverage outing on Wednesday. Club brass hopes he’ll be willing to accept a set-up role as the postseason approaches.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Clippard | Soriano.

September 9, 2014
Washington Nationals – Drew Storen picked up his second straight save on Monday night. He’s struck out five of the six batters he’s faced since being slotted at the front of the Nats’ committee and appears to be the best bet for saves at the moment.

Hierarchy remains: Storen | Clippard | Soriano.

September 8, 2014
Washington Nationals – The first save chance since Rafael Soriano’s maybe-temporary-maybe-not demotion went to Drew Storen, who converted. We’ll bump him to the top of the hierarchy and asterisk him for now until he (or someone else) is given the exclusive job.

Updated hierarchy: Storen | Clippard | Soriano.

September 6, 2014
Washington Nationals – Rafael Soriano will be temporarily removed from the closer role and given a few days off to try and fix his mechanics. The Nats will go with a committee approach for now, most likely giving the first crack to Tyler Clippard, who could take the job and run with it if he converts his first couple of chances. Drew Storen is also a possibility.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Storen | Soriano.

September 6, 2014
Washington Nationals — Rafael Soriano blew his second straight save on Friday night.  When manager Matt Williams was asked about Soriano as closer, he said “We need to address it.” Soriano has really struggled since the All-Star break, with an ERA of almost 7.00.  If Williams decides to make a change we expect Clippard to get the first chance, but Storen is also an option as he has more closing experience.

Rafael Soriano to Hot Seat
Hierarchy remains: Soriano | Clippard | Storen.

September 4, 2014
Washington Nationals — The six men who make up the hierarchies of the Nationals and Dodgers combined on Wednesday for three blown saves, eight runs (seven earned), and a whopping 2.47 WHIP. They also make an average of just over $7 million a year, which works out to about $7,000 per pitch. Feel free this morning to revel, just a little, in their failure.

Hierarchy remains: Soriano | Clippard | Storen.

July 31, 2014
Washington Nationals — With Rafael Soriano unavailable for the second straight day after heavy recent use, Matt Williams kept Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning and used Drew Storen for the save opportunity. Storen gave up a solo home run and put the winning run on base, but managed to escape. Clippard got the last vulture save opp a month back, and he might get the next too, given Storen’s struggles.

Hierarchy remains: Soriano | Clippard | Storen.

July 16, 2014
Washington Nationals – Rafael Soriano will continue to lead the most stable bullpen hierarchy in baseball — except for a few weeks when Drew Storen went to the minors last summer, they’ve had the same three guys in the top three spots since Opening Day 2013. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 24, 2014
Washington Nationals — Yes, it’s actually a Nats update! As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Tyler Clippard picked up his first save of the season with Rafael Soriano having pitched in three straight contests.

Hierarchy remains: Soriano | Clippard | Storen.

May 8, 2014
Washington Nationals — With another scoreless inning tonight, Rafael Soriano extended his streak to 25 straight games and innings. The last time he gave up an earned run — August 23, 2013 — was also the last time we had a legitimate Nats bullpen update. See you next year, Raf.

Hierarchy remains: Soriano | Clippard | Storen.

March 13, 2014
Washington Nationals — We just don’t trust Rafael Soriano, who has been getting shelled this spring — but I guess we trust the guys ranked below him even less. #13 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 11, 2014
Washington Nationals – The Nats enjoy the rare luxury of bringing back every member of an unchanged hierarchy. Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer — Rafael Soriano; Set-up — Tyler Clippard; 2nd in line — Drew Storen.

August 23, 2013
Washington Nationals – Drew Storen picked up an extra inning save on Thursday night.  Rafael Soriano and Tyler Clippard had already pitched.  No hierarchy change.

August 18, 2013
Washington Nationals — After Rafael Soriano blew his second save in two days, starter Dan Haren wound up collecting his first career save in the 15th inning, earning the game ball for his trouble. Also for the second straight game, Craig Stammen was held back and used in a longer relief role, while Drew Storen again looked very impressive in set-up, striking out the side in the seventh inning. Hierarchy change: Drew Storen to 2nd in line, replacing Craig Stammen.

July 27, 2013
Washington Nationals – The Nationals sent Drew Storen down to Triple-A after he allowed a three run homerun in the first game of the doubleheader last night.  Craig Stammen should see more time in the late innings with Storen gone. Hierarchy change: Craig Stammen to 2nd in line, replacing Drew Storen.

July 18, 2013
Washington Nationals – The Nats are set in the bullpen and might add some depth at starting pitcher. Drew Storen might be an attractive option for a team in need of a closer. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 5, 2013
Washington Nationals – Last week, on a night when Rafael Soriano was unavailable, Drew Storen got the save chance over Tyler Clippard, which surprised us, since Storen has generally been the 7th-inning guy for Washington this year, and he hasn’t been particularly good at it.  On Thursday, Storen continued being not particularly good at pitching the 7th, giving up three runs on two home runs, which raised his ERA to 5.40.  A string of good outings might cause Washington to return to their gameplan from last week, whereby Storen jumps ahead of Clippard on nights when Soriano is unavailable, but after last night, we don’t see Storen getting save chances until he straightens himself out.  Hierarchy change: Tyler Clippard to Set-up, Drew Storen to 2nd in line. 

June 29, 2013
Washington Nationals – Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless 8th in a tie game last night.  That left Drew Storen to get the save when the Nats took the lead in the top of the 9th.  Clippard has been pitching in the set-up role ahead of Soriano most of the year, and it looks like the Nats like him so much in the 8th inning role they will continue to use him there even on nights when Soriano is unavailable.  Drew Storen will likely continue to see the save opportunities when Soriano is given a night off .  Hierarchy change: Drew Storen to Set-up, Tyler Clippard to 2nd in line.

May 18, 2013
Washington Nationals – Drew Storen picked up an extra-inning save last night.  Rafael Soriano gave up 2 unearned runs in the 9th for the blown save and Tyler Clippard had already appeared in the game. No hierarchy change.

May 9, 2013
Washington Nationals – Tyler Clippard picked up an 8th-inning hold ahead of Rafael Soriano, marking the 4th consecutive time he’s been used in this fashion.  He seems to have wrested the primary set-up job away from a struggling Drew Storen, and will likely be the first choice for vulture saves on nights when Rafael Soriano is unavailable.  Hierarchy change: Tyler Clippard to Set-up, Drew Storen to 2nd in line.

February 24, 2013
Washington Nationals – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Rafael Soriano, Set-up- Drew Storen, 2nd in line- Tyler Clippard.

September 30, 2012
Washington Nationals – Craig Stammen picked up an extra-inning save on Saturday. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Sean Burnett had already appeared in the game. No hierarchy change.

September 25, 2012
Washington Nationals – In Monday’s 10-run blowout, the Nats went to Tyler Clippard in the 8th inning and Drew Storen in the 9th. After the game, Davey Johnson said that Storen is now more likely to be used in the 9th, although the two will both close, depending on matchups. “The guy that goes out there is the closer that day,” Johnson told the Washington Post. “How’s that?” Hierarchy change: Drew Storen to Closer, Tyler Clippard to Set-up.

September 22, 2012
Washington Nationals – Tyler Clippard blew the save last night and has now allowed runs in 5 of his past 8 outings. Manager Davey Johnson has said that he will split the closer role between Clippard and Drew Storen the rest of the season. “I have confidence in both of them closing,” Johnson said. Tyler Clippard to Hot Seat.

September 21, 2012
Washington Nationals – After pitching in both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, Tyler Clippard was rested on Thursday in favor of Drew Storen. No hierarchy change.

September 13, 2012
Washington Nationals – Drew Storen nabbed his second save last night, as we predicted, while Tyler Clippard enjoyed a restful evening. No hierarchy change.

August 6, 2012
Washington Nationals – As expected, Tyler Clippard had the day off on Sunday, but it was Drew Storen who got the save chance in his place, while Sean Burnett pitched the 8th. Burnett has been excellent all season, but the Nats may be trying to use Storen similarly to how the Rangers are using Alexi Ogando– having him get tough outs whenever necessary and fill in for the closer on occasion, while leaving their 8th inning role consistent. As a result, Storen is probably now the next-best bet for saves in Washington. Hierarchy change: Drew Storen to Set-up, Sean Burnett to 2nd in line.

July 21, 2012
Washington Nationals – Tyler Clippard blew the save last night, and has now allowed 7 ERs in his last 3 outings, a span that includes two blown saves. Sean Burnett and Drew Storen also had rough nights, but Clippard’s recent stretch is worrying, and the Nats have plenty of live arms in their bullpen who could be inserted into the closer role if he continues to struggle. Tyler Clippard to Hot Seat.

July 20, 2012
Washington Nationals – Drew Storen returned from the disabled list on Thursday, pitching a clean 9th inning in a game the Nationals were losing. He immediately factors back in to the Nats’ late-inning plans, though he’s a longshot to win his closer job back this season. Hierarchy change: Drew Storen to 2nd in line, replacing Henry Rodriguez.

July 12, 2012
Washington NationalsEven without Drew Storen– who is expected back in a few weeks– the first place Nats have one of the strongest bullpens in the NL. They’re unlikely to make any moves that would affect their hierarchy. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 6, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez was recently activated from the DL and pitched the 8th in a close game last night. He has 9 saves from earlier in the season and it looks like the Nationals would prefer to use Craig Stammen in situations that call for multiple innings.. Hierarchy change: Henry Rodriguez to 2nd in line, replacing Craig Stammen.

June 18, 2012
Washington Nationals – Brad Lidge had struggled since returning from the DL, and on Sunday, the Nats designated him for assignment. He’ll probably look to catch on elsewhere, as his career in Washington is likely over. Hierarchy change: Craig Stammen to 2nd in line, replacing Brad Lidge.

June 10, 2012
Washington Nationals – After Brad Lidge struggled Friday in his first outing since returning from the DL, Washington went to Sean Burnett in the 8th inning on Saturday. Burnett (0.95 ERA) pitched another clean inning and continues to have a stellar season. Hierarchy change: Sean Burnett to Set-up, Brad Lidge to 2nd in line.

June 8, 2012
Washington Nationals – Brad Lidge returned from the disabled list yesterday. While he won’t return to the shared closer role he held earlier this year, he’ll likely be one of the first guys that Davey Johnson looks to if Tyler Clippard falters. Hierarchy change: Brad Lidge to Set-up, Sean Burnett to 2nd in line.

June 3, 2012
Washington Nationals – The Nationals’ closer by committee– if there ever was one– appears to be finished. Tyler Clippard has gotten all four save opportunities since Henry Rodriguez was demoted, and he’s converted all four. During that span, Sean Burnett and Craig Stammen have been used exclusively as set-up men. No hierarchy change.

May 26, 2012
Washington Nationals – The Nationals have had two save opportunities since demoting Henry Rodriguez, and both have gone to Tyler Clippard. When announcing Rodriguez’s demotion and the team’s subsequent plans for a closer-by-committee, Davey Johnson specifically said that Tyler Clippard would remain in a high-leverage set-up role. But that same day, Clippard expressed a strong desire for the job, and Johnson, thought of by many as the ultimate player’s coach, may have been moved by the young righty’s words. Hierarchy change: Tyler Clippard to Closer, Sean Burnett to Set-up.

May 23, 2012
Washington Nationals – Davey Johnson said before Tuesday’s game that he was moving Henry Rodriguez to a “less demanding” role, and that he’d use a closer-by-committee for the 9th inning. Johnson said he was going to keep Tyler Clippard as his high-leverage set-up guy, but Johnson ended up giving the first save opportunity to the righty, who expressed a strong desire to close before the game. “I want it bad,” he said. With two saves in the past week and a little experience in the role last year, Sean Burnett (0.71 ERA) still has the inside track to get the most opportunities, and Craig Stammen could also in the mix. But the next save opportunity will be key; if Clippard is the 9th-inning man again, then it’s probable that Johnson has taken his words to heart, and the long-time set-up man could be the new closer going forward. Hierarchy change: Sean Burnett to Closer, Tyler Clippard to Set-up, Craig Stammen to 2nd in line.

May 22, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez had to be bailed out again on Monday, as Sean Burnett came in for the 9th inning and got the final two outs for the save. The young righty, already on the Hot Seat, may be placed in to a committee, or worse. ”I’m going to sleep on it, but I’m looking at other alternatives,” Davey Johnson told the Washington Post. Johnson mentioned a possible closer-by-committee, which would likely involve Rodriguez, Burnett and Tyler Clippard. No hierarchy change.

May 15, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez walked three men in the 9th on Monday before being replaced by Sean Burnett, who got the save. Davey Johnson told the Washington Post that he still had a lot of confidence in Rodriguez, though the closer remains firmly on the Hot Seat. Burnett’s usage, meanwhile, has been a bit odd. He’s been used sparingly, but has a 0.90 ERA and could be a candidate for saves down the line should Rodriguez continue to falter. Hierarchy change: Sean Burnett to 2nd in line, replacing Ryan Mattheus.

May 14, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez blew his third save of the season in dramatic fashion on Sunday, allowing a walk-off grand slam to Joey Votto. His ERA is now 4.70. Henry Rodriguez to Hot Seat.

May 11, 2012
Washington Nationals – Ryan Mattheus pitched the 7th inning on Thursday ahead of Tyler Clippard and Henry Rodriguez and picked up his 5th hold of the season. Hierarchy change: Ryan Mattheus to 2nd in line, replacing Sean Burnett.

April 28, 2012
Washington Nationals – Brad Lidge was placed on the disabled list. Tyler Clippard will move into the set-up spot with Sean Burnett moving to second in line. Hierarchy change: Brad Lidge to DL, Tyler Clippard to set-up, Sean Burnett to 2nd in line.

April 26, 2012
Washington Nationals – Tom Gorzelanny got the save last night but it was of the three inning variety as the Nationals won by 5. No hierarchy change.

April 21, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez got another save on Friday, and now has four this season to Brad Lidge’s two. Lidge has also been suffering from vertigo which has limited his availability in recent days, and while Davey Johnson continues to maintain that he’ll use both pitchers in the 9th inning, Rodriguez is now the preferable guy to own, if you only have room for one. Hierarchy change: Henry Rodriguez to Closer, Brad Lidge to Set-up.

April 19, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez got the save on Wednesday after Brad Lidge logged the Tuesday save. It’s Lidge’s turn again in the Nats’ strict back-and-forth platoon. No hierarchy change.

April 17, 2012
Washington Nationals – Henry Rodriguez got the save for the Nationals on Monday. As previously noted, Davey Johnson is using a strict, back-and-forth platoon with Rodriguez and Brad Lidge. Lidge will get the next opportunity. No hierarchy change.

April 13, 2012
Washington Nationals- Drew Storen underwent surgery earlier this week and will be out until the All Star break, with Davey Johnson indicating that he would continue to alternate between Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez. Lidge, however, blew the save Thursday; another bad outing for him could mean Rodriguez wins the full-time job. No hierarchy change.

April 10, 2012
Washington Nationals- Henry Rodriguez took the loss Monday, allowing a walk-off single in a tie game, but the real news came off the field, as Drew Storen was sent to Dr. James Andrews for further evaluation on his elbow. Manager Davey Johnson said the outlook isn’t good, but Storen’s season appears to be in jeopardy. No hierarchy change.

April 8, 2012
Washington Nationals- Davey Johnson has said that he would alternate between Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge for save opportunities, and he stayed true to his word, calling on Rodriguez to pitch the 9th yesterday. He closed the game out successfully, and the next opportunity should go back to Lidge. No hierarchy change.

April 4, 2012
Washington Nationals- The job is his when he returns, but Drew Storen will miss a few games early this season. Surprisingly, manager Davey Johnson has said that Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez will close in his place. Tyler Clippard is clearly the Nats’ second-best bullpen arm, but Johnson said he’s too valuable in his 8th inning role. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Brad Lidge, Set-up- Henry Rodriguez, 2nd in line- Tyler Clippard. Lidge begins the season on the Hot Seat.

Sept. 27, 2011
Washington Nationals- Both Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard had the night off, having pitched the previous two days, so Henry Rodriguez got the call for the save, his second this week. Rodriguez has surpassed Sean Burnett on the Nats depth chart, as Burnett was only used for 1 hitter in the 7th. Hierarchy change: Henry Rodriguez to 2nd in line, replacing Sean Burnett.

Sept. 22, 2011
Washington Nationals- Drew Storen picked up saves in both halves of Tuesday’s doubleheader, so he got the night off on Wednesday and Henry Rodriguez earned the save against the Phillies. No hierarchy change.