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Why Jim Riggleman pulled Drew Storen

Drew Storen entered last night in the ninth inning, the Nationals up by five runs, a chance to put his disaster in Philadelphia behind. He left last night with the game still in the ninth inning, the Nationals up by four runs, the effects of the disaster in Philadelphia still open to interpretation.

Storen faced four batters. He struck out Jason Michaels to start the inning, a positive sign that Storen, as he promised, had instantly moved past his implosive performance against the Phillies. But the very next batter, Chris Johnson, blasted a home run to center. Storen stood on the mound with one his right on his hip, looking out into the outfield.

He induced a weak chopper back to him by Tommy Manzella. He walked Jason Castro, who happens to be one of his closest friends and was his catcher for a season at Stanford. Riggleman came to the mound and pulled Storen so Sean Burnett could face switch-hitting pinch-hitter Geoff Blum.

"We don't have any specific role for anybody. We're just trying to get outs," Riggleman said. "And I felt like the best way to get that next out was to bring Burnett in. Did i think Drew would get the next out? Yeah. But I was a little more confident that Burnie coming in fresh there to face a guy off the bench, turn him around right-handed, was a little more to our liking."

Burnett retired Blum with one pitch, which Blum popped to short. Storen could only contemplate another outing he needed to put behind him. After disappointing outings, Storen tries to detach himself emotionally while learning from what went wrong. He'll have to do it again after last night.

By Adam Kilgore  | September 22, 2010; 12:20 AM ET
 
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Next: The significance of not losing 100

Comments

Even at this point, the goal absolutely was to win and end the losing streak. 63 wins is important, as bad as the last two seasons were. Storen will have many good days ahead. No reason for him to feel slighted here.

It won't be easy, but it would so nice to get to 70 wins.

Let's go, Nats.

Posted by: nats24 | September 22, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

This individual (Sir Poopy_McPoop) obviously has a sick mind.

Posted by: nats24 | September 22, 2010 12:53 AM
===============================

Believe me,loose stools, if i ever found out who you were, I'd happily punch you lights out. Get out of here!

Posted by: nats24 | September 20, 2010 12:47 AM

=============

What was that about a "sick mind"?

I don't seem to ever recall myself threatening physical violence against any poster. Nor have I acted like a brazen, keyboard cowboy, unlike yourself.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 22, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

nice to know we wont loose 100 games now.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 22, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Storen got pulled because he wasn't pitching well, he'd blown a game just two few days ago, and if the Nots had ended up losing this one, the players might not have had the will to go on.

I really don't see why this rates a blog post. A 5 year-old could figure out why Storen was pulled.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 22, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The headline sould read "Rizzo pulls Riggleman for incompetence." But alas our dream will never come through.

Posted by: hansenjo | September 22, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I think pulling Storen was an awful move. There was almost zero risk in allowing him to continue and it would have given him a boost of confidence. Unstead, Riggleman showed that he doesn't even trust him with a 4 run lead and 2 outs. Poor management, in my opinion.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | September 22, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Message to Drew Storen: Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels and Roy Halliday are four of the top 13 pitchers in the NL in terms of HRs served up. Pitchers give up homers in Citizen's Bank Little League Park. No need to worry about that. Move on. Last night was nothing to worry about. How many times did Capps come into a non-save situation and look absolutely pathetic?

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | September 22, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

The homer's not a problem. It's the walk. With a 5-run lead, you just go out there and throw strikes. If someone scores, fine, but you're likely to get 3 outs way faster than you'll give up 5 runs AS LONG AS YOU DON'T WALK ANYONE.

So I think that's where Riggs decided "I can't mess around with this tonight."

Posted by: Section406 | September 22, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Section406 has it right, it was absolutely the right move by Riggleman. Home run, okay at least Storen was throwing a strike there. A walk with 2 outs and a 4 run lead, not acceptable. Sit on the bench Drew and think about the "mental" error you just made while Burnett gets that last out.

Posted by: CHAMP1464 | September 22, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"Message to Drew Storen: Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels and Roy Halliday are four of the top 13 pitchers in the NL in terms of HRs served up. Pitchers give up homers in Citizen's Bank Little League Park."

Message to SorenKierkegaard: Those guys are starters, who have a much greater margin for error than someone coming in to close out a game in the ninth inning. Also, last night's game wasn't played in Philly, but at Nots Landing here in DC. The opponent was Houston.

This makes two consecutive lousy appearances for Storen, and as Section406 noted, the real problem was not the home run to Johnson, who's having a very good season, but the two-out walk to Juan Castro, who's hitting .207.

As I mentioned earlier, if the Nots had blown this game, the effect on team morale would have been devastating, not to mention the effect it would have had on the fans. You might have seen games where fewer than 1,000 people showed up.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 22, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

" think pulling Storen was an awful move. There was almost zero risk in allowing him to continue and it would have given him a boost of confidence. Unstead, Riggleman showed that he doesn't even trust him with a 4 run lead and 2 outs. Poor management, in my opinion."

Storen had thrown 21 pitches when he was removed, and he had just walked a .207 hitter. Castro, who strikes out a lot, fouled off 3 pitches. Storen would then have had to face a pinch hitter, followed by the top of the lineup. Riggleman obviously made the right move.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 22, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Yep. No walks can be tolerated from relievers, ESPECIALLY with a 4 run lead.

Posted by: shanks1 | September 22, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Which reminds me: are you still out there, I Hate Walks?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 22, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

>>Riggleman: "We don't have any specific role for anybody."

Sounds like a plan. Sez it all.

Conversely, after the Os win last night, one of their pitchers said: "Things have really changed. Everyone knows their role and that makes all the difference."

Buck meet No Plan DoubleSwitch.
DoubleSwitch...Buck.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

What's with the 'no walks can be tolerated' line? Since when did Riggleman implement that policy? I think the question is what's most likely to help Storen, and therefore the Nats, going forward given the win wasn't at risk at the point he was pulled.

Boz had an article recently comparing Riggleman to Showalter. Part of that was how the O's starting pitching improved dramatically because Showalter stopped warming up relievers at the first sign of trouble. Knowing that they have to get out of their own jam, and that their manager trusts them to do that, made them much, much better. Just a thought to those who thinking punishing a rookie (and the youngest guy on the team) for a meaningless walk is good management.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | September 22, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Jim Riggleman knows his job is on the line and rather than allow Drew Storen another meltdown(like sunday in philly)he went out there and got him, had he not and Drew proceded to blow the game then everyone would have been in Riggs azz so i don't blame him it's about time, and i don't want to hear about he's young this is the majors not triple A if you can't take the heat then go back to Stanford and get your degree!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 22, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Seems pretty clear that Storen is not a "dominant" pitcher, even as a reliever, & may never be. Means he'll have to learn to pitch, which takes time. The upshot is that we will need a closer for next year-it won't be Storen.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

>>Seems pretty clear that Storen is not a "dominant" pitcher, even as a reliever, & may never be.

Great draft pick by Rizzo.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 22, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Not that I disagree with your premise, but I read that Storen will go back to Stanford and finish his degree in the offseason. fwiw, I think that's a good thing, and I wish more players could/would do it.

---

this is the majors not triple A if you can't take the heat then go back to Stanford and get your degree!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 22, 2010 11:24 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 22, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

So Rizzo essentially used a top 10 pick on a middle reiever?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 22, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1: Not being critical of him going back to Stanford that's a good thing just saying if you're the closer then close,i wonder if Riggs has given any thought to moving him into the rotation.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 22, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Way to get his confidence up Riggleman. Pulling the kid in basically a meaningless game still with a 4 run lead. Storen's the closer and he'll be a good one for years if they let him. The kid's got electric stuff and the right makeup for a closer something you non-baseball people wouldn't have a clue about.

Yeah, if this doesn't get Riggleman outta here nothing will.

Posted by: Dog-1 | September 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I still don't think it was a good move by Riggs. The game was not on the line, there were 2 outs, 1 on and a 4 run lead. If Storen allows a homer there, it's still a 2 run lead with 1 out to get. Of course, then you should go to the bullpen.

I think it would have been better for Storen's development to get one more chance to get the out there.

Posted by: comish4lif | September 22, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

dargramps, yes, I take your point. Your post reminded me of the Stanford item, which I hadn't commented on at the time, so I pinballed on over to that point. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

>>Riggleman: "We don't have any specific role for anybody."

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The talk about Storen before he came up was what great control he had of his two pitches. Recently his slider hasn't been very reliable, and he isn't so overpowering that he can get by on his fastball alone.
Though I don't always agree with Riggleman's moves, he made the right one last night.

Posted by: hapster | September 22, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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