Back to drawing board for Nats' bullpen
Beimel struggles Tuesday, Hanrahan could see opportunities
SAN FRANCISCO -- Minutes after Joel Beimel gave up a three-run, walk-off home run Tuesday night to the Giants' Pablo Sandoval, Nationals manager Manny Acta said he was back to "square one" with his beleaguered bullpen.
What exactly does square one mean?
"Square one means that [Joel] Hanrahan can get a chance again to maybe close some ballgames," Acta said. "We have tried just about every one of those guys. At the end of the game you usually need a guy who can strike guys out.
"He's got more strikeouts than innings. He's had a few good outings. He hasn't walked a guy in, I think, his last five or six innings. So, give him an opportunity. We need a guy back there who can come in and make people swing and miss. ... But that's not etched in stone. It's still going to be (Kip) Wells, Beimel and Hanrahan, too, for now."
Hanrahan lost his closer's job early in the season after blowing three of his first six save opportunities. But Acta has yet to find a reliable closer. The Nationals' bullpen has blown 10 of 15 save opportunities.
Hanrahan has 17 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings, but he also has a 6.28 ERA. He has converted just three of his six save opportunities. In his past six appearances, he has allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings while walking none and striking out five.
Hanrahan isn't the only Nationals reliever with an inflated ERA. Beimel has a 4.09 ERA, Wells 4.26, Garrett Mock 4.66, Julian Tavarez 5.65 and Logan Kensing 13.14. Ron Villone has yet to allow an earned run, but he has pitched in just 3 2/3 innings.
Hanrahan made the conversion from starter to reliever last year and ended the season as the Nationals' closer, saving nine games in 13 opportunities. He struck out 93 in 84 1/3 innings.
Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.