Results tagged ‘ Drew Storen ’

After two tough outings, Storen bounces back

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

After a pair of disappointing performances, the cheers for Nationals reliever Drew Storen started sounding less like “Drewwwwww” and more like “Boooooo.”

Storen gave up four runs in one inning on Tuesday against the Brewers and three runs — including two homers — on the Fourth of July. He looked like a shell of his former self, hanging breaking balls over the middle of the plate and ignoring pitching coach Steve McCatty on visits to the mound. His ERA increased to 5.40 from 3.82.

Then, with a one run lead against the Padres on Saturday, Storen retired the side with five pitches.

“That’s what I was talking about,” manager Davey Johnson said. “His stuff is too good. He doesn’t need to try to trick ’em. He said, ‘Here’ and that was the highlight film of my day.”

Storen threw one pitch each to Carlos Quentin and Chase Headley, both of whom lined out to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Then Storen struck out Jesus Guzman with three pitches: two sinking fastballs and a slider.

“Anytime you can get it right to contact and get them to hit it right to guys, especially on a hot day, you can’t complain about that,” Storen said. “You knew you just had to attack guys in the zone. You sink it down in the zone. Hopefully those guys hit it on the ground and let our defense take care of it.”

Johnson and McCatty have noticed a change in Storen’s approach the season. The Nationals’ skipper has told his former close to stop throwing and start pitching, trust his fastball and attack hitters. After Saturday’s outing, Storen said that he got the message loud and clear.

“I thought he had a good point,” Storen said. “I’m trying to pitch around guys. I have good enough stuff. I just need to attack hitters and we have a great defense behind you. There’s no reason to be pitching around anybody.”

Why Storen’s scoreless inning mattered

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

Thursday night’s game featured two young aces, two home runs, two wall-crashing catches, a game-saving snag, a sacrifice squeeze and a small fire. So in the middle of all that, it would have been easy to miss (or see and eventually forget about) Drew Storen’s scoreless eighth inning.

Storen struck out the top of the D-backs lineup, setting down Gerardo Parra, Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt in order with 15 pitches. Storen struck out the side for the first time all season, but that’s not what made his outing noteworthy. He also kept the game tied at 2, though that’s not what made it important.

Storen’s scoreless eighth inning mattered because for perhaps the first time all season, he pitched like a closer. He was nothing short of dominant, attacking the strike zone with four different pitches — including the changeup that he developed last season. He finished all three of his strikeouts with offspeed stuff: changeup, slider, changeup.

“When I got hurt last year, I told myself I had to work on a changeup because you see these guys and they make adjustments to you,” Storen said. “No matter how good your breaking ball is, if they’ve seen you a couple times, it’s not really going to do you a whole lot of good. So you’ve got to be able to have something else to throw in there and get somebody out with your fastball, and that’s been working out pretty well so far.”

One of the lasting images of the 2012 season is Storen sitting alone at his locker after blowing a save in Game 5 of the NLDS. His confidence was shaken, and he continued to struggle early in the season. After Thursday night, it looks like he might have turned a corner. He has not allowed an earned run in 14 of his past 15 appearances.

“He’s starting to pitch more instead of just throw, which he did for me in 2011,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He was good against both left and right [handed hitters], and this year I think coming back, starting a new role, he was just more interested in trying to overpower them.”

The Nationals have bolstered their bullpen with lefties Fernando Abad and Ian Krol, whose reliability as the season wears on could play a significant role in this team’s fate. But a confident, closer-ready Storen is the key. If he returns to old form, he will have a stabilizing effect on the bullpen and give Johnson some much-needed wiggle room late in the game.

After all, not everybody is cut out for high-pressure situations — like, for instance, the eighth inning of a tie game against one of the best teams in the National League. Storen, however, lives for it.

“I’ve always kind of thrived off that, I always enjoy pitching in those situations,” he said with a shrug. “I guess that’s a good thing to have.”

Johnson addresses Storen’s slower delivery after loss

By Mike Fiammetta /

WASHINGTON — Drew Storen pitched more than one inning for the first time this season in Saturday’s 10-9 loss to the Cardinals.

Storen allowed one run on two hits and was tagged with the loss, dropping him to 1-1. Storen threw 19 of his 23 pitches for strikes, but his allowing Allen Craig to steal second base after a leadoff single in the ninth put the ultimate winning run in scoring position.

“He was slow to the plate last year, but this year — boy, he’s very deliberate,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I think he’s over two seconds on some of those deliveries. That cost him tonight.”

Being slow to the plate is an issue Johnson has addressed multiple times this season, noting the slower deliveries of particularly his younger pitchers. The Nats have allowed 132 stolen bases, 12th-most in the league, but their stolen bases-against percentage of .858 trails only the Pirates for the highest in the league.

“He’s got to quicken up just a little bit,” Johnson said of Storen. “With that move, anybody can steal. It seems to me last year, he was 1.5 [seconds]. I saw a couple of them today over two seconds.”

For his part, Storen didn’t recognize the issue, adding that he was OK with the pitches he threw.

“I don’t know,” Storen said when asked if he’s slower to the plate this season. “I’m concentrating on throwing good pitches. That’s something I need to work on and something, I guess, I need to make an adjustment on for next time.”

Storen suffers setback in simulated game

Nationals closer Drew Storen suffered a setback Sunday. He had right elbow pain after throwing a simulated game at the team’s complex in Viera, Fla.

Storen was went to Birmingham, Ala., to see Dr. James Andrews to get further examination on the elbow. Manager Davey Johnson wasn’t optimistic about when the team would see Storen on the mound again. The skipper even hinted that that Storen may have a bone ship in the elbow.

“He threw the ball pretty good, warmed up pretty good,” Johnson said. “At the end of the end of the day, he felt a little tenderness in his elbow. So we are going to send him over to Andrews and have him re-examined and see what is causing it. … Hopefully, it’s nothing serious, but it doesn’t sound good to me.”

Prior to Sunday, the last time Storen pitched in a game was in early March. At the time, the team announced that he had “typical arm soreness.” By the end of Spring Training, the team announced that he had inflammation in the elbow and was going on the disabled list, but would be back by the middle of April.

With Storen out of the picture for a while, Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge will split the closer’s role.

“With the addition of Brad Lidge, we have even more depth,” Johnson said. “But any time you lose someone like Storen, who saved 43 games, that is a big concern of mine.”

Storen doesn’t make excuses for subpar outing

Nationals closer Drew Storen pitched the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon and was touched up for three runs in a 7-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Storen pitched two-thirds of an inning and had a tough time throwing strikes. Of the 25 pitches he threw, only 11 went for strikes. Manager Davey Johnson said a lack of action, not the rain, was at the root of Storen’s ineffectiveness. Since Aug. 22, Storen has appeared in just three games.

“He didn’t have good command today,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He has logged a lot of games. He is going to have some rough spots at times. This is his first full year. I can deal with that.”

Storen didn’t have any excuses as to why he didn’t pitch well.

“I just didn’t get it done. … I should be able to go out there and throw strikes,” he said.

Johnson wants Clippard, Storen to stay with Nats

After watching his team shutout the Mets, 3-0, on Saturday night, Nationals manager Davey Johnson made it clear that he wants relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard to remain on the team past the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

In a recent close-door meeting, Storen told Johnson that he didn’t want to be traded. Reports have surfaced that Storen could be traded to the Twins for outfielder Denard Span. Johnson told Storen that he wanted him around.

“You can’t take anything for granted. I don’t,” Johnson told the media. “I didn’t think [Jerry] Hairston was going anywhere. … Anything could happen.”

In his first full season with the Nats, Storen has 26 saves with a 2.63 ERA in 49 games.

“This is where I want to be. That’s the reason I signed quickly,” Storen said. “I wanted to join the organization because I want to be part of turning this thing around.

“I’ve only been here for a year and half, but emotionally I feel like I’ve invested a lot into this. I want to turn this team around. But at the same time, I understand that [general manager] Mike [Rizzo] has a job to do himself. So I can understand the business side of things, too.”

Johnson said definitively that Clippard is going nowhere before the deadline. Clippard is clearly the best reliever on the Nationals, going 1-0 with a 1.66 ERA in 47 games.

“Tyler ain’t going anywhere. I’m going with him,” Johnson said. “I don’t where we would be without Tyler.”

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.”

Twitter Poll: The Nats’ MVP thus far?

On Sunday, I asked my Twitter followers the following question: After 40 games, who do you think is the MVP of the Nats? A) Drew Storen B) Tyler Clippard C) Jason Marquis Why?

As it turned out, Storen received most of the votes. Here is what the followers had to say.

@Sultan_of_Stat: Storen has been absolutely dominant. Marquis has been great but Storen is the guy so far.

@szul: A case could be made for all three, but it’s probably Storen. Lots of close games and he’s really picked it up.

@kennygartner: I’d like to vote for Laynce Nix. He stepped up and has been a leader on a weak offense

@Victor__Noel: @DrewStoren. Getting those last three outs provides a boost of confidence for the entire team.

@HendoDC: Storen has been dependable to an almost unreal degree, but you gotta watch his innings pitched.

@thebrowncoat: Hard not to pick Marquis with five wins, but Storen has been their best player.

@dan_offerdahl: Wilson Ramos, because without great defense and solid game calling, no pitcher looks good.

@dc_Roach: Marquis for MVP. Starting pitching wins games, and besides I’d have a hard time deciding between Storen and Peaches.

@Souldrummer25: I’ll never go to war with a reliever. Marquis is the early MVP by a landslide for me.

@JackToomey: Livan Hernandez

@slunk64518: Storen hasn’t blown a save yet and he has looked great so far.

@SallyRyland: Storen has been lights out especially in some tough spots.

@beidenmolinaro: Marquis has been amazing, but Storen is the absolute standout.

@ouij: I’m going with Storen. He has been lights out lately and it has done loads for his self-confidence. Just don’t call him the closer.

@Charlie_Slowes: There isn’t MVP. Pitching and improved defense has been it.

@SteveRep44: @Charlie_Slowes is right. There isn’t one.

@natsnq: I have to say Storen. After a shaky Spring Training, he has come out firing. Love Marquis, but we knew he was capable of this.

@GravyHoltkamp: Jason Marquis. I love pitchers who can also hit. I also loved when he came in as a pinch runner.

@ roycap1963: Marquis. Starting pitcher more important than relievers.

@jtshiffman: Marquis — by far. What I love about this poll is that they’re all pitchers. It says a lot about the Nats’ offense. It’s non-existent.

@KerryPribik: Storen. Consistently closes out games. He doesn’t implode with getting bases loaded and then losing the game.

@DCyetti:Marquis. He is the best hitter on the team!

@Section138: Brian Broderick. Without him, wouldn’t have seen Cole Kimball this quickly.

@Natss9: I would go with Marquis. He has been the most reliable starter out there! He been so solid with each start.

@Evolution33: I would vote Clippard if he came out to Peaches but he doesn’t so Storen

@tedakai: None of above. Alex Cora/Jerry Hairston Jr. for covering Ryan Zimmerman’s absence.

@IBALLZACH: Gotta go with Marquis, he’s been a real stabilizing presence in the rotation.

@deleowned: Write-in vote for Shark Bernadina. The leadoff spot was a black hole until he came up. Also covers more ground than anyone.

@fitdabattle: Storen has been perfect. He’s got my vote.

@skipalb: Marquis, but Storen is close.

@SodaPop6548: Hard to say, Marquis has been a solid starter, but Storen has been an unmovable object. I’ll go with Marquis, though.

@radbcc: Storen

@Liz_Walt: Storen

Storen has rough outing vs. Cardinals

A few hours after Nationals right-hander Cole Kimball was sent to Minor League camp, asked a baseball source this question: With Kimball sent to the Minors, does this mean Drew Storen will be on the 25-man roster? 

The source made it clear that Storen could still be sent to Minor League camp. On Friday, Storen left it open for a possible demotion, pitching one inning and allowing three runs on four hits during a 10-4 loss to the Cardinals.

Storen entered the game in the seventh inning with the Cardinals leading 6-4. He allowed a two-run homer to Daniel Descalso and a solo homer to Mark Hamilton. For the season, Storen has allowed nine earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.

“He must be throwing the ball in the sweet zone — in the middle of the plate — for them to hit the ball the way they did,” Riggleman said about Storen’s outing Friday. “We don’t make excuses, he is just not getting them out.”     

Storen gets first victory, dons Elvis wig

In only his second game of his Major League career, reliever Drew Storen picked up his first big-league victory as the Nationals defeated the Mets, 5-3, on Tuesday night.  

Storen, the 10th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, entered the game in the top of the seventh inning with the score tied at 2 and Mets catcher Henry Blanco on second base. Storen was able to get the job done as Jose Reyes lined out to shortstop Ian Desmond and Luis Castillo grounded out to Desmond to end the inning. 

“I love [coming in during the middle of an inning],” Storen said. “I started that in college. I did it in the Minor Leagues. I love coming in with guys on base because of the pressure. I’m a big fan.” 

Storen became pitcher of record after the Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. After the game, Storen received two shaving cream pies in the face and was proud to wear the silver Elvis wig, which goes to the player of the game voted by center fielder Nyjer Morgan.  

“The wig doesn’t look that good on me, but it’s great thing I’m wearing it,” Storen said. “I saw it before I came up here. I was really hoping I would be able to wear it.”

Storen said it was unfair for him to take the victory. He mentioned that right-hander Livan Hernandez gave a great effort after pitching on three days’ rest. Hernandez allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

“He has a solid outing. It’s kind of unfair for me to take that win away from him. Anyway, I’ll take it,” Storen said.