The Nationals have recalled RHP Drew Storen from Triple-A Syracuse and optioned Ryan Mattheus down to work on getting himself right. Mattheus, since returning from the DL after breaking his hand punching a water cooler, simply hasn't been able to get it done. He has a 9.45 ERA and opponents are hitting .393 against him since his return. Meanwhile, Storen has a 5.68 ERA in Syracuse since his demotion, but that may not be completely indicitave of how he's pitched there. (More on that further down.)
After Wednesday night's game and even more bullpen issues for the Nats, Davey Johnson said he felt Ryan Mattheus' struggle coming before it even happened. I don't know what that actually means, but he was right. Mattheus ended up surrendering three hits and two earned runs without recording an out. Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano were able to hold onto the win almost entirely thanks to Denard Span's incredible catch.
The bullpen has been a problem all year, but it's been more pronounced over the last month. Nats relievers have a 4.81 ERA in the last 30 days and a -0.4 WAR. Only the Giants, Angels, and Astros have a worse bullpen WAR in that time period, and those teams aren't in the best situations this season. That may be the understatement of the century.
Despite Storen's 5.68 ERA in his six appearances in Triple-A, his last three outings there were dominant. He's faced seven batters and struck out four of them. The Nats hope to get that version of Storen, and the Storen who saved 43 games with a 2.75 ERA in 2011 and had a 2.37 ERA during the 2012 regular season, when he returns to the DC bullpen. It's an extradordinarly small sample size of success in Triple-A, but hopefully for his sake, and the team's, it's a sign of what's to come and not a flash in the pan.