The news of Drew Storen’s demotion to Triple-A Syracuse, while not totally shocking, definitely dominated the postgame discussion with manager Davey Johnson and a couple of Nats players, most notably Tyler Clippard.
Ryan Zimmerman has played alongside Storen for the last four seasons, and he was asked his take on the reliever being optioned after the game.
“I mean, anytime something like that happens, it’s tough,” Zimmerman said. “We’re all teammates in here and friends in here. Drew has done a lot of good stuff for this organization. I think he’s going to do a lot more good stuff for this organization. He’s obviously stuck in a little bit of a rut right now. Hopefully he can go down there and figure some stuff out and come back up here soon and be the guy that he was.
“This is a guy that saved 40 games in the big leagues. You know the talent’s there. It just shows you how tough it is to stay consistent at this level.”
Outside of the Storen news, not a whole lot else happened tonight. You know, other than Ross Ohlendorf’s seven stellar innings in a spot start, the Nats beating the Mets in a game started by Matt Harvey and Zimmerman’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. That’s all.
According to Elias, Zimmerman now has more walk-off home runs before turning 30 than any player in major league history. And he’s just 28.
“Just worked into a good count,” Zimmerman said of the homer, which came on a 3-1 pitch from LaTroy Hawkins. “I just finally didn’t try to do too much. Good win. Obviously, with Harvey starting, it’s tough to get any runs. But Ohlendorf stuck right there with him, and after how that first game went, that was a huge win.”
Zimmerman had gone 47 at-bats since his last extra-base hit prior to that home run, but it wasn’t as if he’d been in a massive overall slump. He was still hitting .275 during that stretch.
“I’m just not getting any extra-base hits,” Zimmerman said. “I think we all want to get those, but you’ve got to take what you can get. I haven’t really hit that one streak that I usually hit yet, where I get hot for two or three weeks at a time. Hopefully this can start that.”
Ohlendorf has now allowed just seven earned runs in 33 2/3 innings with the Nationals this season, which works out to a stellar 1.87 ERA. He worked seven strong today when the Nats desperately needed a win and some relief from their starter with the bullpen being overworked of late.
“He’s been great,” Zimmerman said. “He’s come up and done everything we’ve asked. He’s come out of the ‘pen, he’s started, he’s pitched an inning, he’s done pretty much anything. To come out here the last couple times and do what he’s done has pretty much saved us with Det (Ross Detwiler) being hurt and Danny (Dan Haren) being in and out of the DL. He’s saved us.”
“Felt great for us to get the win like that,” Ohlendorf said. “I only had to be here for the night game, but for everybody to fight through that first game and come out like this unbelievable pitcher and scrap a run out, and then Zimmerman, that was really exciting. I’m glad I pitched deep in the game. A doubleheader, and our bullpen is kinda strapped. I feel like it worked out really well. I’m glad we didn’t have to go extras.
“I certainly feel good about what I’ve done when I’ve gotten to start. I feel good with how I’ve done out of the bullpen too. I’ve been really happy with how I’ve been pitching. I just need to keep going.”
Ohlendorf has certainly surprised a lot of people around the Nationals with how well he’s pitched this season. He’s even surprised himself a bit.
“I knew (coming into the season) that I’d felt a lot better than I’ve felt in a while,” Ohlendorf said. “I don’t know if I expected to do as well as I have. But the season is not over yet. I have been really happy with how it’s gone.”
Johnson called Ohlendorf’s outing “exceptional.”
“He threw the ball good in spring, but nothing like he’s throwing now,” Johnson said. “I mean that was huge, just like the six innings he gave us when (Detwiler) went down, so that was big.”