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Drew Storen, Jim Riggleman and confidence

When Manager Jim Riggleman pulled Drew Storen with two outs in the ninth last night, his first priority was winning the game - he believed Sean Burnett against a right-handed hitting Geoff Blum was the most favorable match-up. He also considered the situation and Storen's pitch count, which had climbed to 21. "In a non-save situation like last night, I didn't want him to go out and throw 30, 35 pitches," Riggleman said today.

Riggleman also considered the potential effect on Storen's confidence, which is something many fans seemed to seize on today. "You're concerned about that, yeah," Riggleman said. But he was not overly concerned, and his overriding take showed why.

"If a guy's confidence gets shaken that easy, then he might not be the right guy*," Riggleman said. "I have no doubt that Drew is going to look at that as a situation where, 'I'm not the closer here yet. I aspire to be that. But it's results orientated, and I'm going through the process of becoming a closer here someday.' We really think that he will. But that doesn't have to be in the remainder of '10. It doesn't have to be in the year '11."

*I really liked that line. Your thoughts?

Today, Storen was disappointed that he couldn't finish out the inning, that he gave up a home run to Jason Michaels and a walk to Jason Castro, his college catcher (more on that later). He didn't worry about the yanking, and he didn't see how it would have any long-term effect on him.

"We won, so you can't say anything about that," Storen said. "Obviously, I wasn't happy with the results. I wanted to have a good outing and bounce back. But we won, so that's all that matters.

"I don't lack for too much confidence. But at the same time, I think I'm a good self-evaluator. I can tell if I'm doing something wrong. You've got to have a good balance of the two."

Storen's evaluation right now lies in contrast to his recent results. His last eight batters have gone thusly: single, double, single, walk-off home run, strikeout, home run, groundball to the pitcher, walk.

"I don't think I've really done anything that bad," Storen said. "Guys just hit home runs. Maybe I need to attack guys more, but I felt like I made good pitches. I don't think there's too much to change. I don't think anything is off. Maybe I've been trying to be too cute instead of just attacking.

"If I was going out there walking a bunch of guys and had no idea where the ball was going. ... Stuff was down in the zone except for the home run. And even that was a good swing. I don't feel like there's a lot I need to change."

Riggleman said today Storen's fastball command - the part of his game he needed to improve most when he arrived from the minors - has been better lately. He is still not locating with great precision, Riggleman said, but instead of throwing balls he is throwing strikes that are sometimes catching the fat part of the plate.

The walk Storen issued comes with something of an asterisk. Castro "probably knows me better than anybody," Storen said. He faced Castro this spring training and in the Arizona Fall League last year. Most importantly, Storen faced Castro "probably 100 times" during intrasquad scrimmages at Stanford.

When the count ran full last night, Storen thought carefully about what pitch to throw. It still didn't matter.

"Every time I faced him, it's pretty standard," Storen said. "He knows what I'm trying to do, so sometimes I have to take a different approach a little bit. I think he was sitting on a 3-2 slider there. I thought I froze him with a fastball, but it was a fastball. I was trying to just throw it ball. It's not very fun when the guys knows what's coming."

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 5:56 PM ET
 
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Comments

It's not Storen's possible lack of confidence in himself that's the issue. It's Riggleman's lack of confidence in Storen. Not as a closer, as a pitcher. Storen needed to get ONE EFFIN OUT in order to get out of an inning and preserve a four run lead, and Riggleman wouldn't even let him try. That shows an extreme lack of confidence in Storen on Riggleman's part.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 22, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Didn't weigh in on the Storen 'confidence vote' earlier, but here's my 2cents. I think Riggleman was right to pull him; Storen was racking up pitches & nibbling at the plate. If Riggs leaves him in against the switch-hitter Blum from the LH side, it's advantage Blum. Just flipping him to the RH side swung the odds to DC's favor, and the team got the positive outcome.

Storen hasn't been 'annointed' as a lockdown closer yet, and he shouldn't be thrust into the role like Acta did with 'Gas-can Hanrahan' last year. He's still a rookie; It took a year or two for the mighty Yankees to see what they really had with Rivera to place him in that position.

Posted by: BinM | September 22, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

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