It was hard, but it was what he had to do. Not long after his season ended in excruciating fashion, Drew Storen watched the tape of the ninth inning of Game 5. After any bad game, Storen wants to find what had gone wrong and what he can learn. The magnitude of his blown save – allowing the Cardinals four runs to turn a 7-5 lead to a 9-7 banishment to the offseason – did not alter that routine.
The viewing was painful. But it was also therapeutic for what he found. Storen would not have changed anything about how he pitched.
“I felt okay with what I was doing,” Storen said. “It was easier for me to swallow, after the game, that I stuck with my game plan. It really came down to, you got to tip your cap to those guys. In your head, you do all the what-ifs. But you got to realize those guys get paid a lot to do what they do. There’s just some nights you get beat. It’s part of the learning process. Seeing a different viewpoint kind of helps you process things better.”
Storen arrived at Nationals spring training early, and today, on the eve of the first pitchers and catchers workout, he spoke to reporters about the way last season ended. Storen will adjust this spring to a new role, pitching the eighth inning after the Nationals signed free agent closer Rafael Soriano. He has not, he says, carried any baggage from the NLDS into Viera.
“Spring training is a good opportunity to show people I’ve moved forward,” Storen said. “I can sit here and tell you guys all I want that I’ve moved forward, this and that. For me to get out there and pitch in big situations, it’s not about proving myself. It’s about being me. That’s what will show people it’s all good.
“You’re not going to put it behind you right away. The whole season in general, you just kind of unwind a little bit. Once I unwound, I went back and watched the game. I treated it like any other outing. I went back and watched it. The perspective you can get from watching the game on TV is a lot different. Once I did that, understood what I needed to learn from it.”