The last thing Drew Storen wanted to do in his first appearance of the spring was blow a ninth-inning lead and conjure up images of his last appearance in a Nationals uniform.
That wasn't, however, Storen's primary objective when he emerged from the right-field bullpen for the top of the ninth today and the Nationals clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Marlins.
How did he treat this situation?
"Treat it like a live batting practice," Storen said. "That's really what you've got to do. There's no point in sitting there right now going: 'This is the ninth inning, this is all that.' It's nice to win and all that right now, but in the end it's about preparing yourself for the season. It's about the 162, not the whatever we're playing this spring. That's the way I look at it."
So Storen was less concerned about the results he posted in this game -- two straight hard-hit balls to open the inning, then an RBI groundout that tied the game and ensured he'd be tagged with a blown save -- and more concerned about the way he pitched.
Focusing mostly on fastballs, Storen didn't approach the five batters he faced -- all of them wearing uniform numbers ranging between 61 and 85 -- as though he was trying to record three outs in a regular-season game.
"It's so far out, I don't need to hit the accelerator right now," he said. "I have the ability to work on some things. ... You just take it easy and work through things and just kind of get a feel for it, because you do have that extra adrenaline going on the mound, no matter what situation it is. So it's just about toning it down and being in control the whole time. Not overstepping it. You've got to jog before you sprint."
Under normal circumstances, few would have even noticed Storen's linescore from what proved to be a 2-2, 10-inning tie that also featured a 1-hour, 6-minute rain delay. But given the way last season ended, with Storen blowing a two-run lead to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS, the right-hander's spring debut was going to draw attention regardless.
Storen shrugs off blown save
Nats Insider | Feb 25