Thursday, February 14, 2013

Storen re-watches Game 5

Associated Press file photo
Drew Storen has been under an intense spotlight since Game 5 of the NLDS.
VIERA, Fla. -- There are plenty of athletes who refuse to go back and watch their worst moments in competition, believing the only way to focus on the future is by forgetting the past.

Drew Storen believes in the opposite approach. If he blows a save, he wants to re-watch it and figure out what he did wrong.

"Any time I don't do well, it's not exactly fun to watch," he said. "It's like reading through a [term] paper somebody marked up. You felt good about the paper but didn't really do well. But that's how you learn. If I only went back and watched good outings, I wouldn't get any better."

So Storen wasn't afraid to load up a copy of Game 5 of the National League Division Series and re-live his ninth-inning collapse against the Cardinals, the agonizing conclusion to the Nationals' otherwise stellar 2012 season.

The right-hander did wait a little while to unwind following that postseason heartbreaker. But once he felt ready, he took a look and emerged feeling better because of it.

"I treated it like every other outing," he said. "I went back and watched it, because the perspective you can get from watching the game on TV is a lot different. Once I did that, I understood what I needed to learn from it."

And what did Storen take away from his viewing?

"I felt OK with what I was doing," he said. "It was easier for me to swallow, after the game, that I stuck with my game plan. It really came down to: You've got to tip your cap to those guys. Because you sit there and in your head you do all the what-ifs. But you've got to realize those guys get paid a lot to do what they do. There's just some nights you get beat. It's part of the learning process. Seeing a different viewpoint kind of helps you process things a little bit better."

Davey Johnson said that night he thought Storen was trying to nibble too much on the edges of the strike zone instead of trusting his stuff to get batters out. And the manager still feels that way, though he doesn't worry about Storen's ability to bounce back from it.

"That happens," Johnson said. "I look at it as just a little bit of inexperience. I thought I saw the same thing with Gio [Gonzalez] in the postseason. Just a little bit trying to be too fine, trying to make the perfect pitch. That comes with experience in those situations. It's a natural occurrence. He's only human. But I'm not concerned at all. I don't think a lot back on the negative, as you know."

Storen arrived for spring training determined to move on from his last outing, but he knows he'll have to do so in a new role after the Nationals made the surprising decision to sign veteran closer Rafael Soriano late in the offseason.

Soriano's arrival puts Storen into more of a setup role, though he'll still get some opportunities to close as Johnson tries to keep Soriano from being overworked. Whatever his job description reads, Storen just wants to get back on the mound in a key situation.

That path begins this week.

"Spring training is a good opportunity to work toward showing people I've moved forward," he said. "I can sit here and tell you guys all I want that I've moved forward, I've done this and that. But for me to get out there and pitch in big situations and be myself ... it's not about proving anything. It's about being me. That's the way that helps show people it's all good."

Nationals fans already told Storen everything was good from their perspective when they sent him positive messages over the winter and then gave him a standing ovation at last month's NatsFest in Washington.

The support Storen continues to receive from fans, teammates and family overwhelms him.

"The amount of support I got was incredible," he said. "It tells you how great the fans in D.C. are. And at NatsFest this year, that was incredible. I can't say how much that meant to me and my family, too. This whole offseason, the way I was treated by fans, I can't say enough. It started years back when I got a standing O on the trade deadline day [in 2011]. I've just been treated so great, and that's what makes me happy and makes me want to give this city what it deserves."

14 comments:

Traveler8 said...

I so wished that we would be done with this as the last post of 2012 - after seeing the headline I have decided to not read this new post. Here's hoping that this is another one of those days with lots of posts so this gets buried.

natsfan1a said...

Go get 'em, Drew! (or should I say Druuuuuuuuuu?)

Theophilus T. S. said...

Ghoulish.

NatsJim said...

Throw strikes Drew, everything else will take care of itself.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Ron Luciano (I think) used to like to get Earl Weaver to just the right shade of red in an argument and then tell him "But Earl, it's only a game!" just to watch him go nuts.

SCNatsFan said...

I agree with NatsJim; Drew throws strikes and everything will be just fine.

sjm308 said...

I really like hearing Storen speak. I think he is one of our brightest young men. I also think he will be fine this year. In two years he will step into the closer role and hopefully keep that role for many many more.

So great to read the insider then go get the Post and open the sports to a huge picture of Davey with multiple articles on the back page as well. Ahhh Baseball. Remember just a few short years ago when we were lucky to get one article and even then we were sharing time with articles on the Orioles. We have come a long way people.

MicheleS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I had been very critical of Drew's comments after Game 5 "I wouldn't change a thing". I'm glad that he has re-examined things and has a more analytical approach to it "Once I did that [rewatched Game 5], I understood what I needed to learn from it."


Davey also is spot on about both Drew and Gio's approach however I will go back to my criticism of Gio's approach is moreso that he is nibbling because he's throwing almost all fastballs when his curveball is not working.

Gio has shown an amazing Houdini act to get through many games when the fish are biting on his nibbles. When they aren't the pitch count soars and the walk total skyrockets and it becomes a short outing as we saw in the post-season.

I will say it again that until Gio adds some other plus pitches to his repertoire of curveball/fastball he will continue to have these problems. I just hope he realizes that he needs another "plus" pitch and with Dan Haren there I think there may be the answer. Learn his cutter and split which you throw as a fastball. Haren has made a career of throwing several variations of a fastball to be at times one of the best pitchers in the Majors. Gio has an advantage, he has velocity and the curveball to go with it!

MicheleS said...

New post

John C. said...

Ghost, it's hard to square your criticism of Gio, his approach and his need to add to his aresenal versus his actual results over the past three seasons: 97 starts, 602 IP, a 52-29 record, ERA going from 3.23 to 3.12 to 2.89, ERA+ (ERA adjusted for park factors, 100 is league average) from 127 to 129 to 137, 7.4 H/9, 8.6 K/9 ...

Man, just think how good this guy would be if his approach was better and he had better stuff!

David said...

yeah that trap for Gio is not one he fell into very often this past year. yes it happened in the playoffs, but i don't think it's an "approach issue" to his pitching. i think it was more nerves than anything. Drew had it as well. our guys got a taste of the bigger stage last year and this year should be used to it. that's Davey's take too.

IPLawguy said...

At the time I wondered if the cold weather was affecting his grip. He just could not get the breaking ball over the plate. I still wonder.

Sec314

JayB said...

No wonder Drew is no longer the closer. I called for the move in October. They need a proven closer, not a young arm who is head strong. I would not change a thing......stupid statement. Davey and everyone else knows what he should change...how does Drew not say it?

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