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Storen’s struggles magnified

May 26, 2013, 4:41 AM EDT

Associated Press
Drew Storen gave up the decisive two runs in the top of the eighth.

Relievers probably don’t get enough credit when they pitch well and take too much heat when they struggle, but every one of them knows it all comes with the territory. Pitch one inning every other day, usually in high-leverage situations, and it’s only natural that everything will be magnified.

And right now, the magnifying glass is hovering directly over Drew Storen’s head, exposing every imperfection during what has been an inconsistent two months for the 25-year-old right-hander.

After surrendering the two decisive runs Saturday night during the Nationals’ 5-3 loss to the Phillies, Storen finds himself with numbers uncharacteristic of the first 2 1/2 seasons of his career: a 5.21 ERA, three blown saves, 33 baserunners in 19 innings. And he knows past success doesn’t overshadow recent struggles.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing this, or what you’ve done in the past,” he said. “It’s: ‘What have you done for me lately?’ I haven’t done a whole lot. So I’m gonna be unhappy about it regardless, and it’s gonna be fixed.”
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  1. NatsLady - May 26, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    I was at the game. ALR gave the ump what-fer, and the ump was no where close to ejecting him. Adam is a veteran and well-respected by the umpires. Also, although he lectured the ump–really he did–he was not close to losing his cool. He doesn't need Davey to protect him. Davey came out to protect Suzuki (different game) when Zook was losing it. You have to know the difference.Davey didn't do anything wrong in this game, and I would be in line to criticize him if he did. He was right to lift Haren, who had gone six. Better to get the pitcher out a batter too soon than a batter too late.He could have put Stammen in, he took a chance on Henry as the 7th inning guy (ie. Mattheus), with Stammen warming, and that worked. At that point he is back to normal operation: Drew was supposed to be the 8th inning guy and didn't do his job. You can't say, why didn't he bring Clip in? Clip would have no arm left if he always brought him in. The boys got lots of hits, and if that continues, they will turn into runs. I don't know what Tyler Moore was thinking, Span could have got that ball. In the end, it was a well-fought battle, with the boys coming from behind twice. You had chances right down to the last inning. Sometimes you are going to lose, but our boys fought hard, and I was thinking, they look like a TEAM. Then Storen did his thing and I could feel the sag. But even they they didn't go down without a fight.

  2. Joe Seamhead - May 26, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    Nice post, NL. Civilized.I like it.

  3. UnkyD - May 26, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Hits are way up, errors are way down… The ship do not be sinking…She be gathering steam! Drew needs to get a handle on throwing 2-3 times a week, instead of 3-5, like he'd like. And like most young pitchers, he needs to learn to trust his stuff, and throw strikes to stay ahead. There's still a learning curve with a lot of our guys….I put this up, on the instant analysis:I listened to the game, last night. You could HEAR the lousy BABIP in Charlie and Dave's voices, as bat hit ball, HARD, only to immediately smack a Philly glove… There is a win streak waiting to happen… Mick- before that 12 game tear, just before Riggs hit the road, you were unreadable, in your anger and pessimism, remember? Remember? It's hard, for you emotional types to remember that a baseball season is (that's not a dig! I love the emotion… It just seems short-sighted, sometimes) a series of shorter "seasons". These guys could absolutely still win 95, and clinch the division, with 10 to go! I love that roller-coaster aspect of fandom… I wonder how many eventual champions lead nearly wire-to-wire, as opposed to having various bumps in the road, to overcome? And which of the two are most fondly remembered, over a fans life? It's not over, Mick, not by a long shot… That's why they play the games… ;-)(And thanks, David and Swami, for your balanced posting!)

  4. pwilly - May 26, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Offensive struggles continue to put pressure on all aspects of the team. And if you've seen all the games it looks as if Storen is the hard-luck guy in the pen. Lots of seeing-eye hits in key parts of games. I believe Storen will be fine. But we should have put up 6 runs on Petibone. Like Desi says, baby steps.

  5. Rabbit34 - May 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Ah, it's only a game. Kick the ball around a little….loved the play at first by Lombo. Hey, we're going to lose a lot more. Lose one less than Atlanta and we have it made.

  6. UnkyD - May 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Well, Lookit chew, Rabbit! All mellow, and digging on the Perspective, this morning…! Must be good coffee… :)

  7. baseballswami - May 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    One thing I have noticed in this crazy first two months– the Nats absolutely do not get away with anything. One bad pitch and the hitter does not foul it off, it's a home run, blown lead, blown game. Same with errors- go ahead base runner, pitcher walks you know he is going to score. Miss a ball by inches, ball game. Punch your locker? Broken hand. I would agree that the lack of offense is putting so much pressure on the pitching and defense that every little thing is magnified. Key guys are underachieving. I do think things are looking better, though. Not the results we want yet, but better. I have said many times though, the obsession with other teams and winning a certain number of games and October can make you miss the game on the field in front of you. Good match up today. Should be fun.

  8. Oldguy - May 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    I haven't been in here for a long time, but I'm sick of this beating up on Storen. It went all all winter. The AP article (above) got it right. I go back over 60 years with this game and I could cite a bucketload of good pitchers who have blown big games. In 1949 the Red Sox came into Yankee Stadium with a one-game lead and two games to go. Their 2 pitchers, Parnell and Kinder, had won 48 games between them. You know the rest. Mariano Rivera blew one of the biggest games in his career, the fourth game of the 2004 ALCS. He put a guy on base, the Red Sox put in a pinch runner, and everybody in Fenway Park knew he was going to steal. And he did. And he scored the tying run. Rivera also blew a save during the World Series. And Papelbon blew a save it to end one of the worst stretches in Red Sox history, the last game of their famous September meltdown. What did he get? A $55 million contract from the Phillies. And then to top it all off Rizzo brings in Soriano and says it has nothing to do with Storen. Believe that I'll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. Enough! I was there that day in July when Storen didn't get traded and got a standing O when he came in from the bullpen. Let's remember that, not the other stuff.

  9. djinFl. - May 26, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Thanks for great post this morning gang. Miss the insight without anger that this site was known for. Things seem to be coming around, and not everyone can get it going on May 1. With warmer weather, hopefully the rest can step it up in time for the critical part of the season.GYFNG

  10. m - May 26, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    I am glad I read all those balanced posts. I guess things are not so bad. According to these real fans we are in the midst of of playoff race and there is no need to be concerned with the odd loss. Real fans do not question the team's play. I guess I am not a true fan as I have a question. Should I be concerned with the fact that we are 28th in runs scored, 28th in BA, 29th on OBS, 28th in slugging, 1st in errors committed and 10th worst in blown saves? I know the real fan would say that even with a our dismal hitting we are still playing 500 and only 5 1/2 games from Atlanta. Somehow I am still converend. Never mind I will keep repeating "the team fights hard", " its still early" and the lastest "baby steps". Should I refrain from repatimng "keystone cops"? I will save the Espinosa fiasco for another post.

  11. UnkyD - May 26, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    OldGuy: BRILLIANT!!! Missed you…

  12. Laddie Blah Blah - May 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    NL, good post. If Span's blast had been 2 feet further to the left, if Lombo's liner had been 3 feet further to the right, if Zuki hadn't checked his swing into an easy out, if, if, if…Haren had his best outing, but badly missed his location on 2 pitches. The Nats had Petitbone on the ropes and just couldn't finish him off. They played the all-around better game, but the Phils came up with the clutch hits, and the Nats did not.It's not as if they were blown out or outclassed. They need Werth and Ramos back, they need Harp to get fully healthy, and they need to keep sending Lombo out there to play 2nd base. The bull pen is letting them down. They should be 5-6 games better than they are now, because the pen has failed in close games, time and time again. That is something that Rizzo can fix. Abad looked good last night (knock on wood), and they still have some relief arms down on the farm.I was disappointed in the loss, but know that they will play better. The pen and the bench can be tweaked, if necessary. Kobernus and Abad may just be the first of the moves Rizzo will make to get things back on track. He still has options on both sides of the ball.

  13. Nats106 - May 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Nice comment and about Storen I couldn't agree more. Storen is a class act who has to find his way back. I had the chance to meet him at Potomac when he first signed.For the game, I still find lots of positives. Some solid defensive plays. Haren pitched well-just a couple of mistakes. Ball was hit hard, but right at Phillies defenders. Team came back from being down early. Like Manassas, I expect this team to win every day.

  14. baseballswami - May 26, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Yes you should be very concerned about the hitting. We all are, I assure you. Just not furiously angry and ready to write off the season and trade half the team. I am so glad wonk has been posting oddities because this season is chock full of them. Here is a good one for this perfect Sunday morning– a Nats pitcher leads all of MLB in complete games. I think whole seasons went by where the entire staff did not have 3 complete games. That's one way to make sure the pen does not blow your game!! JZim's rise has been a joy to watch, along with the resurgence of ALR. Could HRod actually turn out to be a good reliever? Will Ryan get his power back? How many saves will Sori rack up? What will Bryce do next? When will Jayson play again? Stay tuned- it can only get better from here- I think.

  15. NatsJack in Florida - May 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Now that I'm over my grumpiness that's caused by evertyhing that has to do with the Fox Network (the only thing I can tolerate is their NFL pre-game show and NFL game broadcasts), I too have a soft spot for Drew.His first ST camp, he was exremely accomodating to everyone he came in contact with. He always spoke when spoken to, always answered any questions asked, and let you know he was glad that you were interested in learning about him.His command has definitely been his problem since his surgery but I expect he'll find it sooner than later.Henry, not so much.

  16. Nats 128 - May 26, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Some of you are talking about Drew like he died.

  17. sjm308 - May 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    Great way to start the morning. Thanks to you all. It was rough to watch in person but there was still some great baseball last night.sorry I pissed Ghost off because I do like his analysis. I honestly don't think I was off base though. I had time on my hands this morning and went back to the previous post. I got home from the game around midnight. I never read the game post so I started with the excellent analysis that Mark or Chase put up and then went to those comments. There were a total of 138 and some were total rants of anger with no analysis (Mick!)Others were posts of hope (Swammi, Seamhead etc) and others were posts of analysis and opinion.Ghost had a total of 23 and Peric a total of 25!Of Ghosts 23, 10 were back and forths with PericOf Perics 25 – 10 were back and forths with Ghost.I commented on that and said it was not what I was looking for in a blog. We are all big boys and girls. We will not always agree but make your point and move one people. Ghost and I agree Espinosa should either sit or get operated on. Peric loves Espinosa. Both are fine points. I was not happy we lost and might have been a little hurtful so excuse me for that. Just putting out what I felt at the time. I am moving on and getting ready for a curly W today and like Swami said last night, its better to love baseball then just trying to be proven right about something.Go Nats!!

  18. baseballswami - May 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I know. I do notice that his Drew- ness is subdued. Pulling for him- he has been through a lot. We need him!

  19. mick - May 26, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Drew has been through a lot???How about us long suffering DC baseball fans 50 years plus??All Drew has done was add another DC sports nightmare memory that I think of every time he loses game for the Nats.I do not want to hear nor do I care that poor Drew has been through a lot. Either he works this out, yesterday, or Drew is THROUGH

  20. Tcostant - May 26, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Storen is a train wreck. Was at the game and Hrod came in, I said to everyone at Lear it's not Storen. Then the 8th inning happened…

  21. NatsJack in Florida - May 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    There you go mick….that's the team spirit.

  22. baseballswami - May 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Well ok, then. I am sitting in my car, late for work , watching Rolling Thunder .

  23. MicheleS - May 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I was there too last night.. The bats seem to be coming around, just not with RISP. Was definitley tweeked about Zuki's awful AB with the bases juiced, but I do like the lineup now. I think moving Zuke out of the 8 hole is good.NJ, I am going to disagree with you on Henry, He maybe hard on our nerves, but last night showed why we can't throw the towel in on him.Drew.. Sigh. Keep your head up kid.

  24. Les_in_NC - May 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    I wonder (no, I will not be going to look) how many posts of peric included the term moron?

  25. Nats 128 - May 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Henry is bad. He has done nothing this year. A bunch of mop ups. Last night was just false hope. He had lucky BABIP and Storen had unlucky BABIP.

  26. mick - May 26, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    The thing is, I have no problem with Suzuki, it was a bad break and he does more good than bad, I trust him to make plays over Storen and several other players who are a drag on this team. I have every right to be upset with Storen NatsJack. I am with this team, win or lose. i call it like I see it and I will go down with the ship with them. 2013 should be used to regroup for 2014 "the ship be sinking"

  27. Doc - May 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I sort of have unconditional positive regard for Drew. For what I know about him as a fan, I just think that he's good person and a good ballplayer.This is the guy who has the same stuff that he had when he saved 43 games 2 years ago.Locating your pitches, like Davey says, is everything in the Bigs. When you're pitching more regualarly it's probably easier to maintain control of your pitches.I just hope that Drew figures out how to enter a game and have the command that he needs. Maybe more work in the pen before he comes in.Good to see Henry continue to have some good outings.

  28. NatsJack in Florida - May 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Michele….. here's my problem with Henry. He can't pitch out of the stretch. Lately, he's taking a full wind up instead of pitching out of the stretch with no one on base. He maybe the only reliever that does this.Once a runner is on, with any speed at all, he's got a free pass to second and usually third. Henry is slower to the plate than Storen.

  29. Gonat - May 26, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I was there last night. I'm kind of numb from all of this. Did I miss something. Why are people comparing Henry and Drew?Two different roles and possibly Davey is moving Henry to the Mattheus role.That 8th inning hurts. I don't think it was all on Drew but he was the one who walked Michael Young. Was Bryce surprised when Young went 1st to home on that play? Just hard to believe Young could score on that play.Tough to watch the Phillies use of their bullpen going with matchups and Davey going station to station.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - May 26, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Actually, now that I think of it, Soriano uses a modified wind up with no one on.

  31. MicheleS - May 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    NJ.. Totally agree with you on Henry out of the stretch and runners having their way with him. But Henry was pretty filthy last night – outside of the HBP. The fact that he didn't implode to me is a positive sign and the fact that Davey brought him in a Tie game not in mop up was refreshing.

  32. Nats 128 - May 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Henry was missing Suzuki's mitt all night. While the end result was no runs, it didnt look pretty to me. Henry was chucking the ball and had no idea where it was going to go. One took off Frandsens hand.

  33. JaneB - May 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Jeez. Henry is better than he was and we need him to be. Something has gotten into Drew's head and the way we can help is for us to stay out of it. I also remember the day he wasn't traded. When he tries to be careful he gets in trouble… Just like mortal beings do when they play it safe. Mick I liked the first post from you today. Lots of great comments here today in general, of the nature that' makes this my first stop of the day. Thanks all!GYFNG!

  34. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Even Mark is calling them fools. And there were some … curious at-bats. Turning points, to me, as I watched:Following a hanged&banged curve with another curve ball. Whiskey Tango¿Suzuki's Ooops. Yeah, I *know* that happens sometimes. That can't happen there.An inside-out grounder over the bag, sure … that was hit hard enough to get into the corner. But that was luck, like Span's foul ball was luck. The dagger was the second double.

  35. UnkyD - May 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    NatsJack@ 9:00: lol….

  36. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    "Mick says …Either he works this out, yesterday, or Drew is THROUGH."Rizzo called, he wants his job back when you are done with it.

  37. Joe Seamhead - May 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Too funny in here today!

  38. djinFl. - May 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    I sort of like having a one wild thrower on the team, but proper use is critical. I like the batters worried more about surviving, then how far can they hit it. I know, he drives me crazy too when he is completely out of control, but hit one every other time out, that should keep their attention.

  39. Sec. 3, My Natural Sofa - May 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    We laugh to keep from cussing, Joe … or something like that.

  40. NatsLady - May 26, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    1. Clip pitches from the windup.2. We were not totally unlucky, Moore's error did not cost, as Haren got a flyout on the next pitch. Span eased off so as not to collide with an inexperienced outfielder. 3. Henry was ok. One good thing is that he is starting to overcome situations where a runner gets on base, whether it is by walk, hit, HBP, or whatever. I didn't feel like all was lost when he came on the game.4. I would really, really like to hang another loss on that whining diva, Colbert. I think it was the buses. No problem with Filly fans…one even offerred me her seat on the Metro.5. I hope Kobernus' nickname isn't Kobie.

  41. Theophilus T. S. - May 26, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Unfortunately, when you've got a whole bunch of players who are underperforming, the only way to get their attention is to throw one of them so far off the island they can't swim back — trade him to the Astros, or send him down to Hagerstown. Storen is just one of several head cases who need to receive a message (keeping Rodriguez on the roster doesn't help penetrate any heads). Someone needs to teach the lesson that there is accountability for poor performance. Unfortunately, Mattheus is unavailable to either perform or be traded to Houston for two months and Garcia is in AA. With Abad getting an "incomplete" for the next week or so, the BP is down to three people performing at an acceptable level. Time for a head to roll.

  42. Candide - May 26, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Couple of observations:1) Nats got 11 hits, but only one for extra bases – LaRoche's bases-empty HR. Phillies, by contrast, had three doubles and two HRs.2) I'm sure this has been noted before, because if I've noticed it, my cat and our front lawn have noticed it: Storen's delivery is different from last year. Last year, he would rear back on his right leg, lift his left leg out as if to counterbalance him momentarily before coming forward to throw the pitch. Criticism was that, as a result, he was too slow to the plate, that base runners could easily steal on him. Cunegonde and I both saw last night, he doesn't rear back nearly so much, even when there's no one on base. Faster delivery, more of a slide step with the left leg. So he's getting to the plate faster, but is he losing something in the process? Is he unconsciously rushing his delivery? Is this something he needs to work on, or do you decide he was very effective with his old delivery, and the occasional stolen base is the price to pay for his otherwise excellent work?

  43. Gonat - May 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/386910Matt Kemp pulled and argues with Don Mattingly. Things are getting ugly in LA.

  44. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 26, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Haren vs. Michael Young 3 k.nowhere near hitting a ball. Storen then walks hin.At least make him get a hitYou would think he has learned his walks aredisasters.

  45. Joe Seamhead - May 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Drew just kind of looks defeated right now. I like the guy a lot and hope he works through this soon. We need an effective Drew.

  46. Candide - May 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    BTW, Det gave a short press conference in the Stars and Stripes club before the game yesterday, Dave Jaegler taking the questions. A few, "What's your favorite color?" type ones, some talk about his trip to Afghanistan on his honeymoon with Stammen (wait, that didn't come out right…) I got the mike, said, "The word on the street is, you like throwing fastballs, 90, 95 percent, something like that." (Det grinned a little) "Any plans to work something else into your pitching mix?"He answered that when he was a kid, his father wouldn't let him throw curves, wanted to protect his kid's arm, thinks that's why he hasn't had any arm problems over the years. Knows that being able to spot his fastball is what's made him effective, but said he's working on his off-speed stuff with McCatty, plans to work it in more once he has confidence in it.

  47. Gonat - May 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    djinFl. said… I sort of like having a one wild thrower on the team, but proper use is critical. I like the batters worried more about surviving, then how far can they hit it._________________________He's not Randy Johnson where the ball is on you quicker because of his long stride and extension.

  48. Gonat - May 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Drew just kind of looks defeated right now. I like the guy a lot and hope he works through this soon. We need an effective Drew. May 26, 2013 10:16 AM ____________________________The go ahead run was on base because of a walk.The Delmon Young double was a chase pitch that Delmon Young got wood on.You won't have much success missing like he did against Dominic Brown. Dead red 95mph right down the middle that missed where Suzuki set up. Whether bad luck or good luck, Drew has been getting in trouble with these walks.

  49. Gonat - May 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Candide, you had one of the best interviews with Det and got a quotable response. Great job, you have a future in Nats media.

  50. Joe Seamhead - May 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I agree with you, Gonat, regarding the walks.

  51. jeffwx - May 26, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    really great thoughts this morning….Good signs in the hitting department as many have noted.1949…am reading the sequel now, fall of 1964keep on posting

  52. peric - May 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Ghost and I agree Espinosa should either sit or get operated on.No, I agree I think he should get the surgeries because let's face it it now includes the wrist. The problem again, as I keep harping on like a broken record, is as Rizzo admitted: its not affecting his fielding. At both second base and shortstop Espinosa is nothing short of stellar. How do you replace that? A stellar fielder in both spots in the middle infield. And perhaps probably the top back up shortstop in the majors even with his offensive issues. Espinosa kills two critical birds with one stone. And needed him in both roles last season.But of course the great Natsjack and the "amateur" scout Ghost forget that. You know what sjm308 Ghost claims Natsjack is the only one that calls me on my BS? Look at the posts. He spends most of his time sniping at me like a smoker with no money looking for a drag. He's more of a snipe hunter if you ask me. He really brings little to the equation as far as insight because he is so busy worrying about what I say? And again, as I said years ago, why? Why? Because he and ghost must have nothing better to do with their time I guess. And you know what we can say about that …I am surprised you always fail to mention his sniping sjm308 so its hard for me to listen to your "lectures" when you are so accommodating to someone who acts like a petulant child when I am right about something … which to his chagrin happens far too often.

  53. peric - May 26, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Drew just kind of looks defeated right now. I like the guy a lot and hope he works through this soon. We need an effective Drew. As I said last night Storen is still viable and still a critical asset. His career isn't going up in smoke. My gawd. Neither is Henry's, at least not yet Natsjack.Storen, unlike Henry, has options and so should be sent to AAA to be the closer there and work out his control problems. I think the catcher Rizzo picked up in trade down there could help him. He appears to be a vast improvement over Maldonado. Brian Jeroloman. With less stress, no press ready to jump down his throat and a smaller crowd perhaps he can get is control and focus back. They will need him when he is ready he shouldn't have any fear about that.

  54. BigCat - May 26, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Storen is gonna be fine. His stuff is to good. Now could his location be better? Yep. Also, I wish he would just throw ALL 2-seamers. His 4-seamer is as straight as a string….and KAPOW!My boy HRod is back in my good graces, now that he's at 100mph again. I wish he would stop trying to be so fine with his curve ball. Just throw it for the middle of the zone. And throw MORE of them.

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