Burnett gets job done for Nats on Friday
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he will continue to rely on reliever Sean Burnett in close games even though the latter is having a disappointing season. Entering Saturday’s action, Burnett is 3-5 with a 5.40 ERA.
In Friday’s 7-2 victory over the Dodgers, Johnson showed how much faith he had in Burnett. With Washington leading, 3-2, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Johnson took starter John Lannan out of the game after Aaron Miles doubled with one out.
Burnett entered the game and was able to get Tony Gwynn Jr. to ground out and strike out Rafael Furcal to end the inning.
“I talked to Bernie and I said, ‘I have all the confidence in the world in you. I’m going to use you in tough situations.’ He was outstanding,” Johnson said.
Burnett said he is grateful the Nationals still believe in him.
“That’s what I expect. That’s what we talked about. My role hasn’t changed,” said Burnett, who is one of Washington’s setup men. “The hardest part was, I was getting put in the games, they were close and I wasn’t getting the job done. [Former manager Jim] Riggleman did it when he was here and Davey has done it. They kept throwing me in the fire. Eventually, I had to start pitching better. The last couple of outings have been better and, hopefully, I can get on a roll.”