7/13/2014 2:01 P.M. ET
Detwiler sees success grow with playing time
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- In his past five games entering Sunday, left-hander Ross Detwiler allowed one run in 10 1/3 innings and lowered his ERA to 3.89 from 4.97. The successful run started against the Brewers on June 24, when he pitched four innings in a 4-2 victory in 16 innings.
Detwiler still does not think he has a defined roll with the club, but he said he would be ready any time he was needed.
"I threw four innings there, and I throw a little more now; I kind of stayed sharp," Detwiler said. "It's one of these catch-22s where you are throwing better, you are going to throw more and you can stay sharp. But if you are not throwing that well, there are few spots you can be in."
Williams pleased with Soriano's first half
PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals closer Rafael Soriano needs to have a combined 120 games finished between this season and last to get a guaranteed contract for the 2015 season. Entering Sunday, Soriano had a combined 88 games finished.
Soriano made it known that he would like to play for the Nationals in 2015. But for right now, Soriano said he was not thinking about his contract.
"I don't want to think about the games finished or nothing like that," Soriano said. "I want to help the team win the [World Series]. I think we have the talent and everything that goes with it."
Entering Sunday's series finale against the Phillies, Soriano had a 0.97 ERA, and his 22 saves were tied for ninth in the Major Leagues. As recently as Saturday, manager Matt Williams was raving about Soriano.
"He's been phenomenal," Williams said. "He has taken the ball whenever we've asked him to -- not only in save situations, but in tie games as well to get us an extra inning or an extra at-bat. He's been great."
But Soriano is not satisfied with what he has done.
"I have to do it some more," Soriano said. "Last year, I had a problem with my slider. This year, everything is better. That's the reason I have the numbers so far."
Werth stellar vs. old team at Citizens Bank
PHILADELPHIA -- Since joining the Nationals in 2011, outfielder Jayson Werth is hitting .267 with five home runs and 18 RBIs at Citizens Bank Park, his home field from 2007-10. But in just the past two seasons, Werth was 18-for-66 [.316] with four home runs and 11 RBIs there entering Sunday's series finale, when he homered in his first at-bat.
On Saturday night, Werth nearly put on a one-man show, hitting a home run, driving in three runs and scoring two runs in a 5-3 victory over the Phillies.
Since he has left the Phillies, Werth has heard a lot of boos from Philadelphia fans, even though he helped the Phillies win two pennants and one World Series title.
Asked after Saturday night's game if the boos pumped him up whenever he played at Citizens Bank Park, Werth said: "It's way in the background. It doesn't have any bearing on my game. I will say the first time I ever received a really good 'Werth-less' chant was in my sophomore year in high school in a basketball game. I pulled in 35 that night. So I'm up for a good 'Werth-less' chant."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.