Does Davey agree with Knorr’s decision?
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
One of the Nationals’ most controversial managerial decisions of the season occurred in the ninth inning of Thursday’s win against the Pirates. And manager Davey Johnson wasn’t the one who made it.
After Johnson was ejected in the fifth inning, bench coach Randy Knorr assumed the team’s managerial duties and decided to remove closer Rafael Soriano from the game in the ninth. Knorr put in rookie Ian Krol, who walked Pedro Alvarez, struck out Jose Tabata and then allowed a two-run single that tied the game.
“In the past, I’ve seen [Soriano] pitch and when it’s not a save opportunity, he doesn’t have the same effect when he’s pitching,” Knorr explained. “He wasn’t throwing the ball over the plate and a couple lefties were coming up. I like the way Krol throws the ball. Figured if you don’t want to be in that mode to shut the game down, I’ll bring somebody else in.”
When asked Friday morning if he agreed with Knorr’s decision, Johnson said that he didn’t know.
“I know I was watching in my office, and I don’t try to control things from my office. Once I get ejected, I’m done,” Johnson said. “I [would] want to see it coming out of his hand and the way hitters are reacting. But, a good baseball man trusts whatever they do.”
Friday’s ninth inning marked the first time that Soriano has pitched less than one inning all season, but Johnson doesn’t think that will affect him.
“No, I mean, he’s a professional,” he said. “Strange things happen in a baseball season. He’s been hooked before.”