Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Drew Storen entered a tight spot in the sixth inning and bailed out Stephen Strasburg.
Well, I've got news for you. As good as Strasburg has been so far, Drew Storen has been even better.
Check out the fellow first-round pick's numbers through 12 relief appearances: 2-0, 1.54 ERA, three holds. And, his most impressive stat: 12 baserunners inherited, 12 baserunners stranded.
In only three weeks in the majors, Storen has already been thrust into some tight spots. Perhaps none, though, was as tight as yesterday's appearance, when he was summoned to replace Strasburg with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning of what was then a 6-1 ballgame. Storen proceeded to get Russell Branyan to pop out, then struck out Jhonny Peralta to kill the rally and preserve the lead.
Strasburg, who has teamed up with Storen every step of the way since signing late last summer, was hardly surprised with the performance.
"I've seen it this whole time," Strasburg said. "When he's put in a pressure situation, he's going to come in there guns blazing, and he gets the job done. Nothing really bothers him out there. Any sort of pressure doesn't bother him."
Kind of sounds like another rookie right-hander under a world of pressure, doesn't it?
"It's been a rapid development," said Storen, who was called up from Syracuse on May 17 and struck out the Cardinals' Matt Holliday that night in a tense situation. "I think I grew a lot from that."
Because Matt Capps and Tyler Clippard have been so successful at the back of the bullpen, Storen probably won't see much late-inning action for a while, if at all this season. But it's comforting for the Nationals to see how the rookie has handled tough spots in the sixth and seventh innings, and gives the club reason to believe he'll be ready to take on added responsibility when the time does come.