Sunday, February 24, 2013

Storen shrugs off blown save

USA Today Sports Images
Drew Storen blew a ninth-inning save today against the Marlins.
VIERA, Fla. -- The last thing Drew Storen wanted to do in his first appearance of the spring was blow a ninth-inning lead and conjure up images of his last appearance in a Nationals uniform.

That wasn't, however, Storen's primary objective when he emerged from the right-field bullpen for the top of the ninth today and the Nationals clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Marlins.

How did he treat this situation?

"Treat it like a live batting practice," Storen said. "That's really what you've got to do. There's no point in sitting there right now going: 'This is the ninth inning, this is all that.' It's nice to win and all that right now, but in the end it's about preparing yourself for the season. It's about the 162, not the whatever we're playing this spring. That's the way I look at it."

So Storen was less concerned about the results he posted in this game -- two straight hard-hit balls to open the inning, then an RBI groundout that tied the game and ensured he'd be tagged with a blown save -- and more concerned about the way he pitched.

Focusing mostly on fastballs, Storen didn't approach the five batters he faced -- all of them wearing uniform numbers ranging between 61 and 85 -- as though he was trying to record three outs in a regular-season game.

"It's so far out, I don't need to hit the accelerator right now," he said. "I have the ability to work on some things. ... You just take it easy and work through things and just kind of get a feel for it, because you do have that extra adrenaline going on the mound, no matter what situation it is. So it's just about toning it down and being in control the whole time. Not overstepping it. You've got to jog before you sprint."

Under normal circumstances, few would have even noticed Storen's linescore from what proved to be a 2-2, 10-inning tie that also featured a 1-hour, 6-minute rain delay. But given the way last season ended, with Storen blowing a two-run lead to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS, the right-hander's spring debut was going to draw attention regardless.

Storen, though, has learned how to approach these early spring outings after coming out with guns blazing previous years. He wound up experiencing elbow pain after his 2012 debut and following surgery to remove bone chips didn't appear in his first regular-season game until mid-July.

"That's the challenge that spring training is," he said. "I got in trouble last year doing that, because I didn't [go easy the first time out]. ... In a competitive situation, you want to sit there and do all those things, but you've got to look at the big picture and know it's February whatever-it-is and we've got a long time to go."

Storen certainly wasn't concerned after the fact. Neither was his manager.

"He had good velocity, but he just left some balls up, out over the plate," Davey Johnson said. "I don't put too much stock in it early. I want these guys to be ready for Opening Day."

24 comments:

Doc said...

Me too Stor!

Just make sure that your back is OK, and the arm isn't suffering any ill effects of last year's surgery.

JayB said...

He is who he is....a cheap signable #10 pick....just what they wanted after the Crow disaster and needing to spend big on Stras.

He is not a top flight closer now or ever. He is a 7th or 8th inning guy at best.

Gonat said...

JayB, "Ever?" Storen was a very good closer in 2011.

Let's be fair, most closers aren't 1st round picks as they are starters who get converted to closers when they can't hack it as a starter (see 2nd round pick Joel Hanrahan).


Craig Kimbrel was a 3rd Round pick and was drafted as a closer like Storen.

If the Nats didn't get Soriano I think Storen would've been the closer this year.

baseballswami said...

He had, what 45 saves in 2011 when the. Nats won only 81? Number ten pick is still high- not exactly tenth round. Still young- good learning curve. Don't really know yet with one good season followed by a partial season coming back from an injury. Remains to be seen.

WT YL said...

Wish we would've drafted Trout #10... hindsight is 50/50 sigh

SonnyG10 said...

No problem Dreeeeeew!

SCNatsFan said...

Wt yl every team wishes it drafted trout.

NatsJack in Florida said...

WT YL.... this is what you expect from a bandwwaggoner, never heard on this site.

It's friggin Spiing Training on February 24th. Absolutsly no idea how to watch or judge a Spring Taraining game.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Lots of pics and comments to poston twitter tomorrow.

NatsLady said...

OK, this one is short, but it took several hours. I'm grading the lefties. Put your grades in the comments sections. If you don't agree with the method or want to add, let me know that too!

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/02/lefties-for-hire.html

NatsLady said...

Thanks in advance for the pix, NJ. I try to remember Storen is only, what, 25? If he stays healthy--big if--of course, he can grow. Soriano is only here for two years. Even the great Mariano Rivera blew saves in the post season, he even blew Game 7 of the World Series.

Unknown said...

Word, Nats Lady!

mick said...

I hope Drew is not another Calvin Shiraldi

SonnyG10 said...

Hi mick, haven't heard from you in a while.

NatsLady said...

OH, boy Mick. Hadda look that one up. "His ERA for the World Series was 13.50." NO, NO, NO.

BigCat said...

I see my boy Rendon went deep the opposite way. Hmmmm.....

Good thing JayB isn't the GM

NatsLady said...

Trying this again to see if it works... if you see this post, it did!

Looking for a LOOGY

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/02/lefties-for-hire.html

Scooter said...

Worked for me, NL.

baseballswami said...

I like the way the guys are concentrating on getting ready and not worrying about their image. That tells me good things.

NatsLady said...

Thanks, Scooter. I'm reading that Pedro Feliciano has a heart problem and may not make the Mets' roster, so they would only carry one lefty in their bullpen, Josh Edgin. I know the Cards only had one lefty last year. It's pretty meaningless right now, but it will be interesting what the composition of bullpens is on Opening Day.

NatsLady said...

Baseball Prospectus top 101 prospects is out (free). Scanning... scanning....

Rendon at 35.
Giolito at 70.
Goodwin at 74.

No new information, they don't seem to have scouting reports on any of them.

Top 101 Prospects

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/a/19694

sjm308 said...

Thanks NL! nothing like reading more baseball in the morning. I remember having to grade final papers in my Kinesiology course and I hated it then (actually, I hated reading the damn papers more than grading them). Keep up the great work.

Nice to "hear" Rendon go deep and have it called by our guys! Surprised they went 10 innings but I guess it gave Rizzo and Davey more to evaluate. Also surprised Lombo played the entire game although I am not sure dh is actually playing.

Go Nats!!

mick said...

Hi SonnyG, been busy, trying get work out of the way now so that I can join you all more often, take care

Rabbit34 said...

I hate to say it, but I think Storen's shoulders will be sore this season from shrugging off a lot of blown saves.

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