Drew Storen is not a bad closer. Drew Storen is definitely not a bad pitcher. He is not going to hurt the Nats if they stick him in the 9th and let him go the whole season saving games. He'll be at least decent, at best All-Star level great, and will save the vast majority of the games handed over to him to save.
That doesn't mean he's not a problem.
Drew Storen blew another game versus the Cardinals and no one, not even soulless automaton me, can feel good about Storen coming in to an important and close game.
I've been on the side of defending Storen because I truly believe Davey screwed him. Go back and read this if you want the full take, but basically Davey made a tired Storen face familiar batters. It was asking Storen to fail. After that he got replaced by Soriano, and we all watched him fail, putting up an ERA that nearly reached 6 before he was demoted to get his head back on straight.
He did work things out and since that demotion had been one of the best relievers in the game, finishing the 2013 season strong and carrying that over into 2014 where eventually in the last month, Storen earned back the closer role. He looked great.
But the eyes of Nats fans weren't really on Drew yet. When he earned back the closer role the Nats had a 7 game lead on a fading Atlanta with about 20 games left. The pressue was minimal. When the pressure was back on Storen in the playoffs, he floundered. Only needing to get one out in Game 2 he gave up two straight hits and almost gave up the lead (Posey got nailed at home remember). He was better in game 4 but even staked to a four run lead he gave up two quick hits, then went 2-0 on Brandon Belt before getting out of things* just allowing one run.
Here's the thing about closing. For 95% of relievers, maybe more, literally almost ANY reliever, closing doesn't matter. Pitching the 9th as opposed to the 8th or getting a big out in the 6th will produce no difference in performance. But logic dictates that for a few guys it will matter. That they will perform fine in pressure situations in college, in the minors, and in the majors, but being the last guy out there in important games in the majors, that will be their breaking point. It'd be ridiculous to think that was the case for a lot of guys (which is kind of the basis for most of the dumb "proven closer" talk) but to think it's the case for none is probably just as silly. Some one has to be like this, probably just a handful (my guess is maybe 5-10 guys out of the dozens upon dozens of relievers used each year), but some precious few. Is Drew one of those few?
Things may be different if Drew Storen had a long and established pattern of closing important games but he has just the opposite. I want you to take a guess at the number of saves Drew Storen has had since 2011. That's 3+ seasons. Got an idea? Ok the answer is 22. Injuries and Soriano has made it so Drew Storen has had somewhat less than half a year of closing responsibility since running away with the role in 2011.
Since those couple of playoffs saves we've seen Storen fail in important spots again and again. He might be fine. It is just a couple games over the course of several seasons, so small sample size warnings all apply. He deserves a shot to close all year. But he also deserves to go into any late season or playoff scenario with no confidence from the fans. He has to prove that he's not one of those few and unfortunately he'll likely have to prove it with the Nats playoff on the line.**
* I re-watched that ending and Storen was more on a tight rope than you think. Sandoval lucked into a hit but then Pence ripped his double. Belt had a great pitch to hit on 2-0 but just got around on it too early and smoked it foul. He then chased Ball 3 up, fouling it off, and let a completely hittable 2-2 slider pass. Crawford was next and got a decent pitch to hit himself but turned it into a lazy flyball. Ishikawa fouled off the first pitch, then had decent contact with the last pitch
** Of course that being said, anyone taking the role from Storen who hasn't shown himself to be fine in super high pressure situations would carry the same burden of proof. However, given my 95%+ estimation, you'd have to feel pretty good pressure wouldn't be an issue. I'd be more worried about a drop in talent than finding a guy who couldn't handle pressure, because Storen does have great stuff when he's on.