Storen will focus on holding runners, controlling pitches after loss

A lot happened to Nationals reliever Drew Storen to make everything unravel in Tuesday’s four-run eighth inning for Milwaukee.

On paper, it was a pair of doubles, and a pair of singles that did him in, as Milwaukee turned a tight pitchers’ duel into a 4-0 victory.

But it was how quickly it all changed for Storen and how Milwaukee attacked his delivery to the plate - to gain extra bases - that was so shocking.

Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer led off with a single and then stole second base. A Rickie Weeks walk put the Brewers in business. Milwaukee employed the hit-and-run on almost every at-bat after that, and it seemed to unhinge Storen.

Manager Davey Johnson could see the aggressiveness of the Brewers was affecting Storen.

“He knows they are going to run on him and he needs to speed it up and that probably affected him more than anything,” Johnson said. “He has been pitching pretty good and that wasn’t one of his better ones.”

Storen attempted to combat the Brewers strategy by mixing up the timing of each pitch, but to no avail.

“I vary my times,” Storen said of his delivery. “I just was slow to the plate. I didn’t vary my looks on the one where he stole third. So, something I got to work on.”

Catcher Kurt Suzuki could sense Storen was getting revved up.

“Drew gets pretty worked up, pretty competitive out there,” Suzuki said. “I don’t know what was bothering him. That is true, he gets fiery on the mound. He is a competitor.”

Suzuki admitted the Brewers were getting “pretty good jumps” on Storen’s delivery. Johnson said pitching coach Steve McCatty has focused on getting Storen to move a little quicker on the hill so the opponent is unable to get a good jump.

“Cat goes over it in the meetings, ‘you just got to speed it up’,” Johnson said. “He didn’t do it. It was probably more his slow move.”

Storen knows holding runners is an issue, and he said he will work on that before his next outing. But he refuted that emotion was getting the best of him in that inning.

“I have been in situations worse than that before,” Storen said. “I am just trying to make good pitches but I left it up in the zone. The results snowballed but my head is not snowballing. I am going pitch to pitch.

“I have been doing it long enough that I have been in different situations, and I think if I am letting things snowball then I shouldn’t be out there. I made mistakes not holding the runner and I fell behind guys and that is going to hurt you. But mentally I didn’t let it snowball.”

Storen said it was pretty cut-and-dry on why things got out of hand.

“(I) just fell behind and left the ball up in the zone,” he said. “They are good hitters, fell behind these guys and give them something to hit, they are going to take care of it.”

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