Category Archives: Gameday

Posts about specific games

Davey Johnson is no coddler

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.

Celebrating Independence Day

Independence from slumps, boos, you-name-it! The Nats won 5-4 on a walk-off wild pitch delivered by the Cubs’ Marmol in the bottom of the 10th inning. Most fans sweltering in the stands were not only hoping for a win, but a quick ending as well. Ok, at least I was! Happy 4th of July indeed! [ Photos on Flickr ]

05-28-11 Padres 2 Nationals 1

Meh. Yet another one run loss, but I photographed it, so here you go.

If the Nats beat the Phillies and nobody is there to see it

Did it really happen? YES!

[After reading this, check out the series preview Q&A I did with Enrico from The 700 Level]

I totally did not want to go to the game last night and was silently praying for a rainout and the game to be called before hauling myself downtown. See, two days after my near-death experience in the Jeep, I wiped out on the scooter Monday night (again, thanks to a car cutting me off). With two severely bruised knees, a sprained ankle and torn up bruised arms and wrists, I was a hurtin’ girl yesterday. Plus, with the forecast, I was worried we’d be sitting in a chilly rain delay for hours on end waiting for the game to be called. Plus, I had a glimpse of the starting lineups before even finishing work and eesh, it didn’t preview like a pretty game. With Zimmerman and LaRoche sidelined with injuries and Morse battling the flu, the Nats starters included Laynce Nix, Matt Stairs and Jerry Hairston Jr. A full bench starting looked laughable on paper. Manager Jim Riggleman, however, professed confidence [Nationals Journal] in his lineup and who was I to question the skipper?

“I feel good about the lineup we’re going to put out there,” Riggleman said. “I feel like we’re not going to put guys out there who are either sick or hurt. I feel good about the potential of what Nix and Hairston and Stairs can give us tonight.”

I hope Riggleman feels good more often, because the reverse lock was certainly in order. What started as jeers for Werth from the Phillies fans scattered around the extremely sparse crowd at Nationals Park turned to cheers as the game went on with Werth catching every fly ball sent his way (many! Almost as if the Phillies were hitting flies to him on purpose as a joke) and lining a home run just fair of the left field foul pole in the 5th inning as the Nats went on to win the game 7-4.

So yep, we went, and am I ever glad we did despite shivering by night’s end and stiffening up. I did not, however, take my camera, so no photos.

In my last post, I mentioned holding my breath every time Clippard came in, wondering if that was game his 0.00 ERA would disappear. Well, last night was it. He came into the 7th to relieve Livo after a fantastic start, but who departed with the bases loaded and two outs. Clippard got the big swinging strikeout of leadoff batter Shane Victorino to end the threat with the Nats up 5-1. Yet when Clippard returned for the 8th inning, he ended up leaving the same situation for the next reliever, loading the bases up with a single and two walks.

Two of those inherited runners scored with Sean Burnett on the mound thanks to a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch. Ultimately, Sean Burnett also lost his perfect ERA in the 9th when one more run scored. But at least that’s out of the way and we can stop fretting about it.

The top of the 9th got a little hairy too, but in the end the Nats pulled of the upset win 7-4 over the Phillies with Werth facing them for the first time. In a word, the game was highly enjoyable. Surprising. It’s too bad there weren’t more folks there, but I guess they felt the same way I did about the possibility of rain and decided not to go.

Overall, the game rocked. Between “smartball” (great squeeze bunt, Livo!), great starting pitching, a fabulous snare of a liner by Matt Stairs at first and one long ball that couldn’t have come from a more perfect player for that particular game, the chill was worth it. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed those games where you can hear everything every fan is yelling. I realize that’s not exactly ideal for the Nats’ economy, though.

On to game two of the first Phillies series!