Leftover notes and observations from the Nats' 10-9 win over the Reds on Sunday afternoon...
Papelbon barely hangs on: On Sunday against the Reds, Jonathan Papelbon earned his 15th save of the season in 17 opportunities, but did so in a way that was far from smooth or easy. Papelbon inherited a 10-8 lead and allowed four baserunners and one run before Ivan De Jesus, Jr. flew out to the warning track with the bases loaded for the final out.
The one run Papelbon gave up - on a double by Brandon Phillips - came home before he even recorded an out. Papelbon has now surrendered a run in two of his last three outings. This was the third time this season he's earned a save despite allowing a run. In nine of his 15 saves he's allowed at least one baserunner and five times has he allowed two or more.
Papelbon has a long track record as a successful closer, which is why the Nationals held on to him this winter despite all that went down late in 2015. But the 35-year-old hasn't exactly been lights-out so far this season.
Last summer they supplanted Drew Storen from the closer role when he had a 1.73 ERA and 29 saves in 31 chances. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison, of course, but the Nationals can only be so confident in Papelbon at this point and it's only June. One has to imagine the backend of their bullpen will get a long look over the next seven weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
Solis continues to shine: Papelbon didn't pitch well and neither did Felipe Rivero, who allowed a three-run homer in the seventh inning. But it wasn't all bad for the Nationals' bullpen, as Sammy Solis put in yet another impressive outing, one that was instrumental in the victory.
Solis took over for starter Tanner Roark, who made it only three innings, to go three scoreless frames with a career-high six strikeouts along the way. He now has a 1.59 ERA through 13 appearances (17 IP). He's tossed eight straight scoreless appearances, having not allowed a run in 12 1/3 innings with 17 strikeouts during that stretch.
The big lefty is showing why the Nats made him a second round pick in 2010, the same draft they took Bryce Harper No. 1 overall. Solis is proving a dangerous weapon with a mid-90s fastball, sharp curveball and a developing changeup.
Solis' play has to be a big reason the Nationals haven't been in a rush to call up right-hander Matt Belisle, who paved the way for Solis' promotion from Triple-A with his right calf strain back in April. Solis has come up and shown he's worth keeping around, even if it means having three lefties in the Nats' bullpen.
Revere breaks hitless streak: Ben Revere came through with two hits in Sunday's win after going hitless in six straight games (23 at-bats). It was yet another instance of Revere posting a multi-hit game during an otherwise putrid stretch.
Over Revere's last 16 games, six of them have been multi-hit outings while the other 10 have seen him go hitless. He hasn't had a one-hit game since May 17. For Revere lately, it's been feast or famine to an extreme degree.