Williams discusses roster decisions involving Soriano, Detwiler, Hairston

The Nationals' starting lineup for Game 1 of the National League Division Series didn't feature any surprises.

The back end of the team's 25-man roster might have surprised some.

The Nationals opted to put Rafael Soriano on their roster for the NLDS, while Ross Detwiler was left out of the eight-man bullpen.

Detwiler had one clunker down the stretch, allowing three runs in an inning against the Braves, but was unscored upon in seven of his eight September appearances. Soriano was tremendous in the first half of the season, posting a 0.97 ERA, but allowed 18 earned runs in 25 innings after the All-Star break, good for a 6.48 ERA.

Late this morning, Matt Williams addressed his decision to leave Detwiler off the NLDS roster and his rationale for keeping Soriano on his active 25.

"For the last month of the season, we had three lefties in the bullpen," Williams said. "We decided to go with two. Certainly, Matt (Thornton) has been throwing the ball well. Jerry (Blevins), over the last month, has thrown the ball exceptionally well. It's not an easy decision, by any stretch, but we decided to go with two lefties and had to make that (decision).

"(Detwiler's) fine. It's disappointing for anybody, for sure, especially being here the whole season. He will also stand at the ready in case he's needed."

As for Soriano ...

"He has everybody's confidence," Williams said. "It never wavered. Our options at the back of the bullpen, we have multiple guys who have closed games. Sori is one of them; 200 saves is a lot. He is one of the reasons why we're here. Was the premier closer in the first half of the season. Went through mechanical issues, and has worked diligently to resolve those. I think he is where he needs to be. Gave him opportunities late in the season to pitch, and he pitched well."

hairston-swings-red-sidebar.jpgOn his bench, Williams opted to go with Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Kevin Frandsen, Nate Schierholtz and Jose Lobaton.

That leaves veteran outfielder Scott Hairston on the outside looking in. Hairston has posted really strong numbers against the Giants in his career, and he traditionally hits left-handed pitching well, but went just 5-for-36 at the end of this season. And with Zimmerman on the bench, Hairston's pinch-hitting opportunities would have been fewer and further between.

"With regard to Scott, Zim being back and the way that our team was constructed as it stands, Zim will be coming off the bench a little bit for us," Williams said. "That is kind of our option, our first option, right-handed off the bench in that regard. We wanted a lefty. Unfortunately, it doesn't leave room for Scott.

"He was really good about it. He understands the situation, and will continue to stay ready in case something happens."

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