Johnson doesn’t want to overuse Storen
With the Nationals leading, 5-4, over the Cubs in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, manager Davey Johnson wanted to leave reliever Henry Rodriguez in the game. Rodriguez had dominated the eighth inning, allowing a hit and striking out the side.
But according to Johnson, close Drew Storen was expecting to go in and save his 22 game of the season. Johnson had a change of heart and put Storen in the game. Storen ended up retiring the side in order as the Nationals defeated the Cubs by the same score.
“[Bullpen coach] Jimmy Lett said [Storen] wasn’t real happy. I got [Storen’s] blood boiling,” Johnson said.
Johnson didn’t want to use Storen because the later has been used a lot this season. Storen has already pitched 45 1/3 innings in 45 games. Johnson is looking for another reliever who can close games while Storen gets a rest sometimes.
“My closer, he is on pace to be in probably 70-something games,” Johnson said. “This is basically his first-[full] year as a closer. That’s not what I want to do to him. He is probably capable of doing it. He wasn’t the closer all year. He was doing some other things. He has a lot of innings.
“If you are going to be 10, 20, 30 games over .500, you have to have somebody else. Two or three of my closers over the years, when we were on a role, they come to me and say, ‘I need a day off.’ I want to groom that guy that can come in and pick up the slack.”
Storen didn’t deny his displeasure about Johnson original decision on Wednesday, but later understood why Johnson wanted leave Rodriguez in the game.
Storen said he has found ways to make sure that his arm doesn’t get tired. He has cut down on throwing a lot in the bullpen and doesn’t cut corners when it comes to doing exercises and icing his shoulder.
“My favorite thing in the world is to pitch the ninth inning,” Storen said. “But I understand that Henry dominated the eighth inning and didn’t throw a lot of pitches. Competitively, you want to be out there, but I understood. I was fired up any way. I was just standing there. I was ready to go either way. … I appreciate the way he was looking out for us. That was nice.”