Thursday, April 4, 2013

Storen gets back on the saddle

Photo by USA Today
Nearly six months after blowing the save in Game 5 of the National League Division Series last October, Drew Storen finally got his chance Wednesday to pitch in a game that counted at Nationals Park. Yes, he was able to take the mound on Friday against New York, but that was an exhibition game. This time Storen entered a regular season situation, in the eighth inning with a two-run lead, and real consequences on the line.

“It was good to get in there and get your feet wet in some regular season baseball,” he said.

“It just felt comfortable more than anything. When you go out and get in a game like that, a tight game, it’s fun. It’s fun to get those juices flowing again and that’s what locks me in.”

Storen made it through the Marlins batters with no issue, using 14 pitches to exit the inning. He got Greg Dobbs and Adeiny Hechavarria to fly out before striking out pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan.

It was efficient, convincing, and perhaps just wanted Storen needed.

“I think it was nice for him so people can stop talking about it,” Kurt Suzuki, who was the catcher in Game 5, said.
“I've got so much confidence in Drew. He's got great stuff. He's a great reliever. He showed that tonight, and he's shown it in his career. That one game, obviously, was magnified a little bit because of what was at stake, but I think Drew's going to be fine.”

Ryan Zimmerman has been in Storen’s corner since he joined the team in 2009 and defended him after the playoff loss. He re-iterated Wednesday night he still believes in him in pressure situations.

“He's been a closer, he's been in the big leagues. He understands that you can't save every one and you can't get all the guys out every single time,” he said.

“I think that's why he's going to be so successful this year: he can forget about that. He shouldn't feel bad about that. He was one of the biggest reasons why we were in that position. Unfortunately, it just didn't work for him that night. But I think he's past that, just like we all are. We all expect him to be the guy that he was tonight.”

Storen showed no signs of timidity or change in demeanor from last season. He entered the game ready to attack batters and led with his fastball. He used his fastball or hard sinker nine times among his 14 throws.

“That’s part of the thing that made me successful in the past. When you got the defense that we have, there’s no reason not to do that. For me, I was going to go out there and attack and see what happens.”

Manager Davey Johnson said before the game he plans to rotate Storen and fellow reliever Tyler Clippard in and out of the setup role, depending on recent games. While he may no longer be the closer, Storen did what he could on Wednesday night to prove himself to Johnson.

“I thought he threw the ball great today,” Johnson said. “He threw some good-located fastballs and wasn’t trying to overthrow. Just made some good pitches.”

41 comments:

NatsJack in Florida said...

So I guess this means Drew won't be banished to Syracuse as one of the poster's here has been predicting for a couple of weeks.

SCNatsFan said...

If he takes the 'demotion' well then Drew can be an incredible weapon; with the other three guys we can bring guys in for important outs as early as the 5th inning, assuming Duke or Stammen can hold leads.

Joe Seamhead said...

Ding, Ding, Ding! Between you and Doc, I'm going thought the chilly morn with a smile, Jack.

Faraz Shaikh said...

even if it is the marlins, nice to start the season with two shutouts.

by the way, read an article on stadium naming right in paper today. what does everyone think about that? millions per year would be nice but I like Nationals Park better than 'MetLife' or 'Citizens Bank', etc.

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
So I guess this means Drew won't be banished to Syracuse as one of the poster's here has been predicting for a couple of weeks
___________________________

Does that poster's name begin with a P?

Mark Grabowsky said...

As for stadium naming, given the pervasive "salute to troops" and other military motifs I hope we can avoid Raytheon Park or McDonnel Douglas Stadium. (From a 20-year veteran)

NatsJack in Florida said...

Gonat.... I don't remember.

Candide said...

(Got new-posted)

Alexandria high school kid with fastball in mid 90s "...sent scouts into a frenzy."

Candide said...

Maybe they could sell the naming rights to the U.S. Treasury and call it "Nationals Debt Park."

With some tie-in to Detwiler.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack/Gonat, yes it starts with a P and rhymes with Eric.

I'm concerned with Espi. He has an itchy trigger finger and also lengthened his swing a few times. He then compacted it in some back and forth ABs.

Only 2 games but he looks nothing like the guy I saw in Spring Training. He needs to stick to the plan and let BABIP work for him .

peric said...

The only future spot for More on the field is at First base. He can play left but is not very good there and has a weak arm. We cannot afford to play him continuously in left as his POTENTIAL offense does not make up for his defensive liability. So unless you want him replacing Laroche, he has no spot to play everyday for now.

No, Tayo TYler Moore is now an outfielder. In fact T-Mo looked better in the outfield than at first base perhaps due to lack of time there in spring training. Just like Michael Morse who is now in left field again for the Mariners. Davey even had Tyler Moore in right field this spring.

Moore in left-field would constitute a dramatic improvement offensively as the stats from last season showed.

And Timothy Folk annoying and often RIGHT.

Section 222 said...

So I guess this means Drew won't be banished to Syracuse as one of the poster's here has been predicting for a couple of weeks

Wait, wait, wait, it could still happen! Just like Tyler Moore might push Span out of the starting lineup and put up Morse-like numbers this year.

peric said...

So I guess this means Drew won't be banished to Syracuse as one of the poster's here has been predicting for a couple of weeks

Banished? No. I wasn't sure Storen was completely back from his surgery. Look that's what they are doing with Christian Garcia and for Davey the sun rises and sets with that guy? A trip to XST and then Syracuse would have been to ensure he was ready not to "banish him". The guy throws 98? You don't banish a reliever who can do that. The same holds true with Henry.

Eventually, we'll see which lefty reliever separates himself from the pack and eventually due to injury or for performance one of them will be in the back of the Nat's bullpen before too long. Its just a matter of time. And even Natsjack won't deny that.

peric said...

Wait, wait, wait, it could still happen! Just like Tyler Moore might push Span out of the starting lineup and put up Morse-like numbers this year.

I am going to have fun copying and pasting these comments and reaming the authors ... ~smiles~ This is going to be a fun summer.

Whack-a-Mule said...

I have ceased to be a "Mule-sicle" (just in time for today's game). Much to admire. Span's defense excellent; he was on-base all 4 AB's (but the RBI fielder's choice doesn't make the stats; just the safe hit and 2 BB's). Gio (headache and all) obviously wants his own Silver Slugger. See you all at the ballpark!

peric said...

Interesting Candide/Doc...

Peric is annoying

Rick Ankiel was at least as good as Span AND his arm was the best in the major leagues. Where is he now?

This is a Riggleman/Giggleman configuration. We'll see how it works against the newly resurgent Braves.

Section 222 said...

Very fun game last night, despite the weather. I was glad to put my new Nats jacket to the test. A good dry run for October. It passed.

What was with the Nats Dog stands having no buns at the beginning of a $1 hot dog night?

I enjoyed seeing our bullpen perform so well. Storen and Mattheus were solid and Rafi really bore down after a few guys got on. He's going to be great I think. Gio's curve was a sight to behold and I loved how helpless Stanton looked against him. That was impressive.

I agree with one of the commenters on a previous post that Zim's warmup tosses were scary. He's taking an extra hop before throwing too. If he does that during a game, someone's going to beat his throw across the diamond.

I disagree with one of the commenters on a previous post that Bernadina should replace Werth in right for defense (or maybe play LF and move Harper over to RF). The Shark is flashier and makes more highlight reel catches, but Werth is a good defensive outfielder, as he showed last night, and I think we want his experience out there in the late innings of tight games.

Tcostant said...

BTW -

Anyone who goes to the yearly Zimmerman event at Nats Park; Living Social has a discount for it:

https://www.livingsocial.com/events/660960

SCNatsFan said...

I still feel Henry's elbow - or neck, or finger, or bursa sac - gets 'strained' after he gets lit up the first time and gets to spend a couple of weeks in SYR pitching every other day on a 'rehab' assignment, allowing whichever lefty rises to the top. Of course, the good Henry would negate all of this but even I, the patron Saint of lost pitching causes, as run out of faith in HRod.

Water23 said...

Best comment of the night -
How was Gio able to hit a HR of Slowey when everyone else was baffled by his 72-88 MPH stuff?

Answer - Gio was impersonating Bugs Bunny and his slo-mo swings!

A DC Wonk said...

This guy lives and dies with every pitch as much as some of _us_ do!!

http://s3.amazonaws.com/dk-production/images/26268/large/1132ckCOMIC-louis---baseball-exercise.png?1364933987

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Peric, you are right about one thing that what you say could end up happening but your predicting an Opening Day outfield of Moore, Harp and Werth was short-sighted as Span is the lead-off batter/CF that Rizzo has coveted in the Bourn role.

With Rick Eckstein's work with Span, it may pay dividends. He actually put up great numbers a few years ago and then changed his swing slightly. Eck has been working tirelessly to get him back to that.

When you have a team that believes, almost anything is possible. It starts with trust and the positive mental attitude.

Of course we won't know much until we get through a few more weeks as 2 games is ridiculous to really start projecting.

Water23 said...

I was at both games and it looks like Danny is back to his old ways. It is too early to be concerned but it is not to early to notice. I thought he was backing off his all or nothing swings from the left side in Spring Training?

Joe Seamhead said...

Concerning MLB outfielders:
If it doesn't walk like a duck, and it doesn't look like a duck, it probably isn't a duck.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Tcostant, that Living Social link is at $69.

I got an email from CAA agency and on that link they have $45 Club level seats and $69 General Addmission with Beer but if you buy 4 tickets they are $40 each or if you have lots of friends buy ten tickets at $35 each. Sounds like someone needs to arrange a NatsInsider party for 10!

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5915295809#

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Water23 said...
I was at both games and it looks like Danny is back to his old ways. It is too early to be concerned but it is not to early to notice. I thought he was backing off his all or nothing swings from the left side in Spring Training?

April 04, 2013 11:40 AM


I wrote the same at 11:02AM. I'm not hitting the panic button yet.

The leash probably isn't too long with him as the Nats have invested much in him and to see him go all Spring and working the new mechanics and approach and then revert back with some of his swings last night is troubling.

Again, not panicking yet but I'm concerned.

NatsLady said...

This is scary. The Nats start with a 70% chance to win the game, according to Vegas. (Look at the end of this post). Now, you know, of course, they set the odds not on what they think but on how they want people to bet, but still...

Daily Notes

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/daily-notes-batting-stats-with-live-and-yesterday-splits/

The Fox said...

Here is an article on best outfields in baseball. I don't agree with the with the final outcome, and I think the Dodgers are rated too high but it does quantify the numbers.

http://www.talkingchop.com/2013/2/6/3956072/do-the-braves-have-the-best-outfield-in-major-league-baseball

Not sure the Nat's OF is the the best in baseball but it's up there. I'd say second or third in baseball right now and it could get better. So far I've been impressed with Span's defense and Harper seems to have unlimited potential.

As for Bernie, I was never a big fan but his numbers in the second half were pretty impressive and if he puts up those numbers he will get some playing time. I think we could see him in LF with Harper playing RF sometimes giving Werth a break and Bernie is an above average LF'r and he may get better.

It will be interesting to see who Davey puts in CF when he gives Span a break? Harper defiantly has more ability but I'm thinking at some point he become the RF'r, maybe not this year but soon.

Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa said...

Now, you know, of course, they set the odds not on what they think but on how they want people to bet, but still...

Sorry to be dense, but what's scary about the Nats being prohibitive early favorites in betting on today's game?

Water23 said...

GoSM,

Not panicked, not really concerned as it is too early but it is worth noting. Is it likely that he is the Nat's representative on the wait part of the season then finally get surgery to fix his shoulder? Seem like a yearly event.

2012 - Ryan Zimmerman
2011 - ALR

UnkyD said...

Ankiel career OBP: .305..... At least as good as Span: .357

At LEAST.....

NCNatsie said...

I think I lean toward the idea of leaving Harper in LF for the next twenty years. He would probably be the best right fielder on the team, but...he would probably be the best center fielder on the team, but...he would probably be the best shortstop on the team...etc.

Babe Ruth was probably the best pitcher on the Yankees squad in the 1920's, but...

Harper's offense has such off the chart potential, truly Ruthian in my view, that I think he should concentrate on that, play a relatively easy defensive position and see if he can hit 714 home runs or more.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Water23, I agree.

The Fox said...

Nat's Lady,

I think it is because Mel Blanc's french cousin is pitching for the fish.

Most of the Nat's have very few AB's against him except for Adam LaRoche who is hitting 3 for 7 with a HR.

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NatsLady said...

Maybe "scary" is the wrong word. Just uneasy being the prohibitive favorites. But, better than the alternative.

natsfan1a said...

Is anybody else hearing voices or is it just me?

I think it is because Mel Blanc's french cousin is pitching for the fish.

EmDash said...

I liked Ankiel, but aside from the superior arm, he's in no way the better defensive outfielder. All the metrics I've seen show Span as the superior in range and defensive WAR.

Span's job is to get on base a lot and allow the guys after him to try to bat him in, and play a strong defensive center field - he's done both well so far.

John C. said...

Peric's comment that Ankiel is at least as good as Span is likely an attempt at hyperbole to make a point. Please don't take it seriously, as I seriously doubt even Peric meant it literally.

NattieNation13 said...

Did anyone see the fan who had the sign that said "#LeBryce" ? I thought that was funny. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed untucking my shirt last night.

Theophilus T. S. said...

EmDash

Those "defensive metrics" are high subjective. UZR is some computer geek's effort to put lipstick on a pig when you can see pretty much the same thing by looking at the CF's share (or the LF's share, etc.) of the outfield putouts. My guess is that Span will have a smaller share of the OF POs this year because he left Willingham behind in MN and has go-get-ems on either side of him and in front of him. What will that do to his metrics?

Do I think Ankiel is just as good? Probably not, but no one will confuse Span's arm w/ Ankiel's, and the Werth/Ankiel/Harper arms in OF could clog up the bases a bit. Based on a very, very small sample I think Span covers more ground faster and is more sure-handed with the glove. Which makes offensive comparisons unnecessary.

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