Well, Davey Johnson’s postgame interview following last night’s 7-6 loss to the Astros was certainly a departure from the norm we’ve grown accustomed to with previous managers. He didn’t mince words when discussing Jordan Zimmerman’s not-so-great start and wouldn’t even consider the fact Jordan had been hit in the shin with the ball earlier as an excuse. Johnson used phrases such as, “Those things upset me,” and “those kinds of mistakes are hard to stomach”.
I’m torn between liking the brutal honesty and the appearance that Johnson takes these losses personally. On the other hand, part of me cringes at the same time because his facial expressions and tone in the moment after the game made it seem like he was throwing Zimmermann, usually a solid pitcher, under a bus. Instead of using typical phrases like, “sometimes a pitcher doesn’t have a feel for the ball, but Zimmermann’s an outstanding young pitcher and I’m confident he’ll bounce back for his next start,” he used, well, something else.
Do the players need this kind of tough love with high expectations? Or is this something that can cause some resentment in the clubhouse? Who knows….
Video here on masnsports.com | Transcript below
Debbi: Davey, starting with Jordan Zimmermann, I know he’s a tough kid, but that had to have affected his pitching after he was hit…
DJ: Well, I mean, the thing that bothered me the most that whole ballgame is I’m not one over my whole career with good young pitchers, good arms, and I have a couple guys in scoring position, I’ve got a base open – if he gets ahead of the guy, I don’t expect him to make bad pitches. I expect him to hit; the hitters got to hit a pitch off the plate. A nasty pitch. And he hung a slider right down the middle. It was flat and drove in two runs and uh or drove in a run. And then the squeeze – didn’t cover first. Those things upset me. I mean, I thought he battled and maybe he didn’t have his best stuff, but the one thing, when you’ve got two strikes on a hitter, you just basically don’t give them a cookie. There’s a lot of times during the course of the year I have situations in the middle of the lineup where I definitely don’t want to have to give in and give a really good hitter a pitch to hit. But that was the toughest thing tonight that got me the most.
Debbi: Some opportunities that were missed – you know, you look at Jerry Hairston, and that was aggressive getting thrown out at 2nd base and a couple other things.
DJ: Well, you know Jerry swung the bat great all night and you got to try to make it. The ball, unfortunately it came right back to them. It’s going away from us and he makes a perfect throw. I know he’s out and I know if there was any doubt, Jerry would have been out there arguing till the sun went down. I didn’t see it on the replay, but the ball beat him easy, so I figured that he was out. But uh, just breaks. We battled hard, I was proud of the team, we kept battling and right back in the ballgame. That big run we gave up tot he bottom of the order again with Coffey, so I’m just, you know, a lot of things bad happen.
Debbi: Michael Morse though, I mean, he’s just been really rock solid out there. How well is he swinging the bat right now?
DJ: He’s unbelievable. He’s on fire. Everything he hits hard. I don’t think they hit him on purpose in the last inning. You don’t put the tying run on with some guys who can go out of the yard. I think they were trying to pitch him in but you know, it’s just a tough game. I liked the offense. Didn’t like our pitching as much.
Q: Davey, was there something with Jordan that was different tonight that you could pinpoint?
DJ: Well, the one thing he was doing that I hadn’t noticed before is, you know and I guess he gets in the habit sometimes, his elbow was dropping on his breaking ball. The elbow was coming here [gesturing] and it was flat. Didn’t do it all the time, but the one time he really did it was to Barmes with the guys on 2nd, 3rd and two strikes. He just threw a flat slider right down the heart. But he’ll learn. I mean, he’s a young pitcher, got a great future, but those kinds of mistakes are hard to stomach.
Q: Do you mean the at bat with Barmes – the 2nd at bat before the squeeze play?
DJ: Yeah, you know, I mean any other situation with the catcher coming up 7th hitting .250, if he gets ahead of him, you know make a good pitch and get him out. If he doesn’t, walk him and try for the double play. But then you have to give in to the hitter and he needs to learn how to do that.