Nationals' Papelbon, Storen offer quick glimpse of bullpen's dominance
The Washington Nationals did not have to wait long to see the iimpact new closer Jonathan Papelbon can have on their pitching staff.
Papelbon, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, needed only nine pitches to close out Thursday's 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins - his first save with his new team and his 18th in 18 chances this season.
The arrival of Papelbon meant a demotion from closer to setup man for Drew Storen, but there was no letdown as Storen showed what a lethal combination Washington has at the back of the bullpen.
Storen mowed down the Marlins in the eighth inning, striking out two and throwing nine of 10 pitches for strikes. The performance left an impression on Papelbon, who called Storen "filthy."
With prized offseason acquisition Max Scherzer working seven scoreless innings before turning the game over to the 'pen, the Nationals may finally have the formula to reverse their recent postseason failures that saw them eliminated in the NL Division Series in 2012 and 2014.