It was all systems go as the Washington Nationals clashed with the Marlins on Thursday. Most importantly, it was Jonathan Papelbon’s first appearance since being moved from the Phillies.
Papelbon stopped nine pitches to seal his win. The Nationals were definitely impressed by the performance of their new closer. The closer’s position was previously reserved for Drew Storen.
On the other hand, Storen blended very well with his new role as a pitcher. Even Papelbon was amazed by his swings. All in all, the Nationals beat the Marlins with 1-0. But it was Storen who got the most opportunities, especially in the eighth inning. And the pitcher used them so well.
It looked as if Storen was sending out a message that he is an all round player. He actually hit the ball ten times to complete his mission. After the game ended, Papeldon was eagerly waiting for Storen so that he could give him a few tips on how to swing the bat perfectly.
“I asked [him], ‘Can you show me your slider grip tomorrow?'” Papelbon said. “He was really, really good.”
The closer argued that he was shaking while going in to the ninth inning because he was not sure he could win. He needed to create an impressive performance because it would determine how the Nationals will regard him in future.
“I really can’t explain it,” Papelbon said. “You come here to a team and expect to win. You expect to do the job. … I’m glad it’s out of the way. You come to a new team, you want to show them what you have, why you’re here and everything that goes along with it. It’s also fun at the same time.
I think that’s what makes me who I am and what makes me succeed.”
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman pointed out that the Nationals will continue to have an edge over their opponents as long as Papelbon and Storen are made to play alongside each other.
“That’s kind of the whole point as to why we got Pap — to do what he is doing and do whatever it takes to give us the best chance to win,” Zimmerman said. “The last two times [Storen] came out in the eighth to do what he did, it obviously makes us a better team.”