With Matt Capps no longer a member of the Nationals, there is a huge hole at the closer position for the team. Manager Jim Riggleman doesn’t think any one person in the bullpen is ready to step in to that role full time just yet and will go with the hot hand or a closer by committee for the rest of the season.
Ben Goessling got a quote from Riggleman that explains as much,
“We feel like Drew is the logical guy to take it on, but we don’t want to put all that on him right now,” Riggleman said. “If he is throwing good in the eighth, and decided to leave him out for the ninth, depending on who’s coming up, that’d be good. But if Clippard or Burnett or Peralta throwing good, (we’d do that), or we might let Peralta get the first out, let Burnett face a batter. We’ll have to mix and match.”
I’m not sure if leaving Storen out to get 2 inning saves is a great idea, but I do think the notion of easing him into the closer role sooner rather than later is a solid decision. Using this sort of “who’s hot” and match-ups approach to put their pitchers in positions they can be successful in should only help their confidence while getting them valuable experience in games.
In the long term, this should be good for the Nationals but in the short term, there might be some ugly learning experiences fans will have to sit through.