Aug 7, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Drew Storen (22) pitches during the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park. The Rockies won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Mr. Hyde: Drew Storen
Most of the discussion on Friday’s loss will center around Drew Storen. After all, Friday was his first real disaster of an outing. Since being moved to the eighth inning role, Storen had been near untouchable, locking down opposing hitters whenever he’s been called on regardless of the situation.
On Friday, Storen was just off. He recorded one out quickly, then handed out a walk. He recorded another out, then allowed a single. Then came the bad luck. Nolan Arenado got on top of a pitch, but instead of resulting in a ground ball out, the ball dribbled up the grass towards third. Yunel Escobar never really had a chance. The grand slam would follow.
Fortunately, Friday’s outing doesn’t portend terrible things to come for the Nationals set-up man. Every player has nights where things just don’t go the way you drew them up. For Storen, that’s what Friday’s game was. If the ball of Arenado’s bat finds Escobar a little more quickly, Storen’s out of the inning with no damage done. Instead, he ran into a hot-hitting Carlos Gonzalez and found himself on the wrong side of a comeback.
There’s also the silver lining of the fact that Matt Williams, whose managerial decisions have come into question all too often this season, managed to use his bullpen correctly on Friday. He pulled Zimmermann at the right time, handing the ball over to Janssen before he put in Storen. Once the lead was gone, he used Felipe Rivero to mop up the ninth. It isn’t much, but at least there’s a positive to be taken from a bad night.
Obviously, this loss will sting a little, particularly given that they allowed the Mets to increase their lead in the division, but Nationals fans can take a little solace in the fact that Jordan Zimmermann looked like his old self, and Drew Storen’s bad night seems more like a one-off than a sign of more meltdowns to come.