Washington Nationals' Drew Storen Continues The DC Closer Tradition In Arizona.

• It wasn't a save situation, the Phoenix Desert Dogs had a comfortable four-run lead when the Washington Nationals' 2nd '09 1st Round pick, right-handed reliever Drew Storen took the mound in the bottom of the ninth of this afternoon's AFL road game against the Peoria Saguaros, but Storen's a Chad Cordero fan and must know it's a DC baseball tradition, so of course he made it interesting to give the fans in Arizona their money's worth...

Storen started the ninth with a leadoff walk to the Houston Astros' '08 1st Round pick, Jason Castro, who was selected 10th overall out of Stanford a year before the Cardinal closer Storen went to DC with the same pick. (Good note, Mrs. S.) Next up was the 5th-ranked prospect in the Atlanta Braves' organization, Freddie Freeman, an '07 2nd Round pick, who hit over .300 in the Class-A Advance Carolina League before struggling at Double-AA ball. Storen got the Braves' future first baseman swinging through a 94 mph full-count fastball high and outside for the first out of the inning, but gave up a one-out single to Cleveland Indians' outfielder Nick Weglarz that moved Castro into scoring position. The Cincinatti Reds' '07 second-rounder Zack Cozart was no match for Storen's offspeed stuff as the Desert Dogs' stopper dropped a two-strike change in inside and high at 85 mph for a called strike three a pitch after painting the low outside edge with a 96 mph heater. That left it all up to Carlos Rivero, an Indians' infielder, ranked 10th overall in Cleveland's system according to Baseball America, who ends up flying out to right on a 2-2 slider for the third and final out. 

-- Drew Storen throws 27 pitches, 16 for strikes, allows 1 hit, 1 walk and K's 2 of the 5 batters he faces.

• Final Score - Desert Dogs 6, Saguaros 2. - MLB.com's Gameday.

Desert Dogs now 5-1.

BACKPAGE: 

Danny Espinosa's Day.

• Strasburg Video - by Allen Weiner via (twitter.com/allenweiner)

(cont.)...

BACKPAGE:

• Danny Espinosa's Day.

DC shortstop prospect Danny Espinosa was the only Nationals' prospect in the starting lineup. The Nationals' 22-year-old infielder finished the day 2 for 5, though his first-inning single was erased when he got picked off first immediately after the hit. Espinosa K'd swinging in his next two AB's, before a seventh inning single, which was immediately erased by D-Dogs' 1st baseman Brandon Snyder's DP grounder. 5 games into the AFL season, Espinosa's now 5 for 19 with 4 RBI's, 5 K's and 1 SB.  

• Strasburg Video - by Allen Weiner via (twitter.com/allenweiner)

As reported here last week, Stephen Strasburg threw 3.1 scoreless in his AFL debut with the Phoenix Desert Dogs, and Allen Weiner was there to see it...and record Strasburg's warm-up, Mr. Weiner (who appears to be a Philly fan) sent me a note via Twitter with a link to the his youtube video of the Nationals' '09 1st overall pick in action, and when I asked if he'd mind me sharing it with the federal baseball readers, his response was, "Share it everywhere, (please give me credit) it's for the fans!!" Have a look: (and thanks, Allen.)


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