Sep 12, 2015, 6:39 PM EDT
Drew Storen’s late-season meltdown hit a new low Saturday when the Nationals revealed their struggling reliever broke his right thumb slamming shut a door in his locker after giving up the decisive home run in Wednesday’s loss to the Mets.
Storen will likely miss the final three weeks of the season, manager Matt Williams told reporters in Miami. And given his request to be traded earlier this summer, his career in Washington may well be over.
Thus concluded a disastrous week for Storen, who allowed the winning runs to score against the Mets on consecutive days, giving up a bases-loaded double and then three straight walks during Tuesday’s loss and then serving up a 2-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes during the eighth inning Wednesday.
Those losses all but knocked the Nationals out of the pennant race; they entered the week only 4 games behind New York in the NL East but lost 4 1/2 games in the standings over the next five days to leave themselves everything but mathematically eliminated.
Storen was front-and-center for much of the Nationals’ second-half collapse. After posting a 1.73 ERA and 29 saves in 31 opportunities as the club’s closer through the season’s first four months, he was bumped into a setup role following the trade for veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon and proceeded to post a 6.75 ERA in 20 games since.
Upset over losing his ninth-inning role, Storen requested a trade after Papelbon was acquired July 28, but general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn’t grant it in-season, insisting the club needed the right-hander’s presence in its bullpen through the rest of 2015. The assumption all along, though, was that the Nationals would revisit the matter over the winter, with Storen likely to be traded.
Storen’s on-field struggles and now his self-inflicted injury, though, could destroy much of his trade value. The 28-year-old right-hander is under team control only one more season, so any club that acquires him would only be guaranteed his services through 2016.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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