As I’m sure you saw like everyone else, Matt Williams yanked Jordan Zimmermann from Game 2 with two outs in the ninth inning and the Nationals winning by a run, needing a win to tie the series. You can see what I thought about Matt Williams’ decision here, but this is more about Drew Storen. He needs another chance in a high leverage situation in this postseason.
If you notice around baseball, the closer role changes quite a bit and really shouldn’t even be called that. The best arm in your bullpen should get the ball in high leverage situations like the one last night. That is what Matt Williams did as he took the ball from Zimmermann. He handed the ball to his best reliever, in the biggest spot in the game. This time it happened to be the ninth, but sometimes that moment is in the sixth and I hope he does the same thing then.
Back to Storen. Williams talked to the media about bringing him in in the ninth and this is what he said about the situation.
"“Why did we decide to take him out? Because if he got in trouble in the ninth or got a baserunner, we were going to bring our closer in. That is what we have done all year. [Zimmermann] got the first two guys, he wasn’t going to face Posey. Buster lined out to third the previous at-bat. Saw the ball pretty good off [Zimmermann] all night long. We decided to go to the closer.”"
Williams went on to add that “Hindsight is a great thing.” He is exactly right. Many wouldn’t have made the move while sitting on their couch because they believe that they know what is best. I may think I know what is best, I don’t, but I like to think I do.
Williams had the numbers on Posey. He was facing Zimmermann for a fourth time, coming off of a line drive caught by Anthony Rendon in his last at-bat. When Buster Posey faces a starting pitcher for the fourth time in a game he hits .341 with a .400 on-base percentage. That is just scraping the surface of what Matt Williams knew in the back of his mind coming into this series.
Drew Storen had been perfect since the twenty-fourth of August and had shown he was ready for this role in October. He left a pitch just enough over the plate to Posey to let him dunk a base hit up the middle and had bad location on the pitch Sandoval hit down the line to tie the game. Everyone makes bad location on pitches, just ask Tanner Roark. You don’t want them to be in these types of games, but even the best like Mariano Rivera aren’t perfect in the ninth in October.
Storen needs another chance. He doesn’t need to go into the offseason with that being his last memory of the 2014 season on the mound. He needs to get the ball before Soriano on Monday, if the game is close and especially if the Nats have a lead. Storen has proved himself to be the guy throughout the second half of the season and this time he needs to have a chance to re-prove himself in October.
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