Aside from their god-awful manager, the MLB’s preseason darlings look to have another major issue threatening to extend their streak of failing to win a postseason series to 48 years (out of 48 years of franchise existence).
In acquiring John Papelbon at the deadline, Nats GM Mike Rizzo turned his club’s bullpen from one of the weakest amongst playoff contenders to one with the deadliest setup-man/closer combo in the majors. At the time, Drew Storen had been serving as closer for the Nats and was having an amazing 2015 (29 saves out of 31 opportunities, 1.73 ERA). Unfortunately for the Nats, they had few postseason dependable arms in the pen with him other than long reliever Tanner Rourke. Storen also has somewhat of a checkered October history that might’ve had the Nats faithful worried come fall…
In case you didn’t watch, that was Storen blowing a 2 run lead in the bottom of the 9th in game 5 of the 2012 NLDS. If that kind of epic choke job isn’t enough to worry fans, you can also look back on his blown save in Game 3 last year against the Giants.
While Papelbon’s postseason history is not without blemishes, he has been a part of some stellar runs that includes the iconic 2007 Red Sox championship team. A Storen/Papelbon combo in the 8th and 9th innings should significantly shorten games for the Nats’ stockpile of starting rotation talent and give them a great chance of finally bringing playoff glory to DC. Unfortunately, once the trade went down, Storen gave no indication that he was going to play along nicely.
As an arbitration-eligible player, Storen could have a legitimate beef here, as arbiters will typically grant higher salary values to players with defined roles as closers. What do you think? Does Storen have a right to be pissed? Before we get more in depth, lets take a look at his performances over the past weekend…
Here’s what he did on Friday:
Here’s what he did yesterday:
Yeah Storen… You might just wanna shut up and play