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“When you’re closing, it’s different,” he said. “Guys don’t ambush you as much when you close. In the seventh or eighth inning, guys are typically more aggressive. It’s just different. I think that goes into a lot of pitch selection.

“A lot of times guys late in a game might be trying to not make a mistake or really waiting for one perfect pitch instead of having a true at-bat where they hit the first good pitch they see. It’s something I always notice.”

The bottom line for the Nationals, and for Storen, is that it benefits neither party for the right-hander to struggle. The Nationals‘ bullpen won’t operate at it’s highest possible level unless Storen is a part of it. Thus far, they’ve been exceptionally pleased with what they’ve seen since his return.

“There’s no doubt about it,” Johnson said. “He’s instrumental in the late inning relief.”