One week in, Drew Storen has been a hit
Drew Storen came into the Nationals win Sunday with one out in the sixth inning. He walked one batter and recorded two outs to finish the inning quickly, which is normal. He walked off the field and stopped to chat with Steve McCatty, who informed something not very normal: Storen was going to bat in the bottom of the inning.
Storen had not hit once as a professional, and he did not hit once as a collegian at Stanford. He arrived at Stanford as a potential third baseman, but that notion vanished when he started throwing mid-90s fastballs and batting like he "wasn't that good," Storen said.
But he was still a switch-hitter. He always had been, ever since he was a kid and his dad taught him. He needed a helmet with an ear flap on both sides. John Lannan tried to get him his. "I have a dome," Lannan said. "It didn't fit him." Storen stood by the bat rack, still looking for a helmet that with two flaps.
"The bat boy was standing there," Storen said. "I was like, 'Hey, give me your helmet.' "
And so Storen walked to the plate for his first professional at-bat wearing the bat boy's helmet. Against Millwood, Storen batted left-handed. He fell behind 0-2, the second strike on a hellacious uppercut hack. ("I was getting my money's worth on that cut," Storen said. "I missed that second pitch by about two or three feet.")
On the next pitch, Storen decided he would shorten his swing. He flicked an 0-2 curveball into the opposite field, just over shortstop Lugo's head, for the first hit of his career.
"I didn't really know what to think," Storen said. "I was just happy I put it in play."
Add a 1.000 batting average to Storen's list of accomplishments. Sunday, he retired five of the six batters he faced, allowing just that one walk. He struck out Luke Scott on a filthy curveball that started at Scott's hands and must have looked to him like it disappeared. "Pretty much an unhittable pitch," Manager Jim Riggleman said.
Storen has already become a crucial piece of the Nationals bullpen. He's been in the majors only one week, and that still does not feel normal to him. Storen has still not retrieved all of his things from Syracuse. As far as he knows, all of it is still in his car in a parking lot outside the stadium. Storen packed two empty suitcases for San Francisco, hoping he'll get his stuff on the road.
"It's just all new," Storen said. "I'm happy with the way I am settling in and adjusting to everything. I know there's still a lot of work left to do."
FROM THE POST
If this next trip goes well, Boz sees an exciting summer ahead for the Nats.
The Nationals finished off a grueling stretch with a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Orioles thanks to Josh Willingham's walk-off home run.
In case you missed it Sunday, Dave Sheinin wrote another installment of Stephen Strasburg's odyssey on the way to the big leagues.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Toledo 8, Syracuse 5: Leonard Davis went 2 for 4 with a walk and a double. Jason Bergmann allowed no runs in one inning with a strikeout. His ERA at Syracuse is 2.19.
Akron 5, Harrisburg 2: Marvin Lowrance went 2 for 4 with a home run. Erik Arnesen allowed two earned runs in five innings on four hits and no walks, striking out three.
Potomac 6, Salem 0: Tyler Moore went 2 for 4 with two doubles. Robinson Fabian allowed no runs in seven innings on four hits and no walks, striking out five.
Hagerstown 6, Delmarva 3: Steven Souza went 2 for 5 with a home run. Destin Hood went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Mitchell Clegg allowed one run in six innings on six hits and a walk.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The Nationals are built to win close games, Ben Goessling writes.
FanGraphs wonders if Bryce Harper is worth the money he will demand.
After his team lost a series to the Nationals, it looks like Dave Trembley could get fired today, Kevin Cowherd says.
May 24, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
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