Results tagged ‘ Davey Johnson ’

Game 130: Cardinals at Nationals

Mike Fiammetta here, helping out Bill Ladson on the blog as the Nationals return home from their eventful — to say the least — road trip for an 11-game homestand. As always, following along at Nationals.com.

After snapping their five-game losing streak last night in Miami, the Nationals begin a four-game set with the Cardinals tonight. Edwin Jackson faces the team he won a World Series ring with last year, which will send left-hander Jaime Garcia to face the Nats. Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the Nats on Friday, followed by Jordan Zimmermann — carrying his 2.63 ERA into a matchup against Kyle Lohse’s 2.64 — on Saturday and Stephen Strasburg on Sunday.

Sticking to tonight, though, the Nats will trot out their normal lineup — with one exception. Jesus Flores will catch Jackson while Kurt Suzuki gets a day off. Flores last played in the series finale with the Phillies on Aug. 26, a 4-1 loss.

The timing is somewhat odd, considering Suzuki is as hot at the plate as he’s been since coming to the Nats. Suzuki has a three-game hitting streak in which he’s 4-for-10 with a home run, which Johnson credited to the work the veteran catcher has been putting in with hitting coach Rick Eckstein.

“Eck’s been working with him good, he’s in a good place right now,” Johnson said. “I like the way he’s been swinging the last three days. He’s in a good spot.”

-Speaking of Strasburg (as always), manager Davey Johnson said the Nats’ young ace will make two or three more starts before he is shut down for the season. After his horrid outing Tuesday night against the Marlins — seven runs allowed (five earned) on nine hits in five innings — Strasburg has thrown 150 1/3 innings. Of course, Johnson’s comments fall pretty much in line with the 160-180 innings number that’s been thrown around all season.

-Bill will have more on Strasburg, Bryce Harper’s temper and Drew Storen’s hot streak in the notebook. In the meantime, here are tonight’s lineups:

Cardinals (71-59, 2nd NL Central)

  1. Jon Jay CF
  2. Carlos Beltran RF
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Allen Craig 1B
  5. Yadier Molina C
  6. David Freese 3B
  7. Skip Schumaker 2B
  8. Rafael Furcal SS
  9. Jaime Garcia LHP

Nationals (78-51, 1st NL East)

  1. Jayson Werth RF
  2. Bryce Harper CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  4. Michael Morse LF
  5. Adam LaRoche 1B
  6. Ian Desmond SS
  7. Danny Espinosa 2B
  8. Jesus Flores C
  9. Edwin Jackson RHP

Game 128: Nationals at Marlins

Adam Berry here in Miami, once again pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

Some quick news and notes before the first pitch from Marlins Park…

-GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson set the record straight about their vocal postgame meeting following Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Philadelphia. In short: It wasn’t a big deal, and there are no hard feelings.

Johnson proved that as soon as the two sat down in the visiting dugout at Marlins Park. Rizzo sat beside Johnson during his usual pregame meeting with the media, and Johnson immediately put his boss in a headlock and laughed. This came two days after Johnson was overheard shouting, “You come down and manage the team,” at Rizzo inside his office.

“It’s normal business as usual,” Johnson said.

-The full lineups are below, but you’ll notice Michael Morse and Ian Desmond are both starting. If you missed it after the Nats’ fourth straight loss Sunday, there was some talk about how playing short-handed contributed to their recent offensive struggles. They’ve scored all of six runs during their current losing streak.

“We’ve been down a man or two, mostly a man, most of the year,” Johnson said. “But down two, that’s affecting what you can do.”

-Johnson said to only expect three call-ups on Sept. 1: Mark DeRosa, who will be activated from the disabled list; a third catcher; and someone who can pinch run.

-Speaking of call-ups, Johnson said John Lannan, recently named International League Pitcher of the Week, will make one more start for Triple-A Syracuse on Sept. 3 then join the Nats. Of greater interest, considering all the national attention on Stephen Strasburg’s shutdown, is what Johnson had to say about the timing of Lannan’s promotion.

“I think it’s going to pretty much coincide fairly close with Stephen, when he’s shut down,” Johnson said. “I think the timing, he’s lined up almost the same day, so he may have to miss a start.”

As for tonight’s lineups…

Marlins (58-71)
Bryan Petersen LF
Justin Ruggiano CF
Jose Reyes SS
Carlos Lee 1B
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Greg Dobbs 3B
Donovan Solano 2B
Rob Brantly C
Ricky Nolasco RHP

Nationals (77-50)
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Stephen Strasburg RHP

Nats’ Harper has temper tantrum

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had a temper tantrum during Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Phillies. Harper was upset after being taken out in a double switch in the sixth inning.

Manager Davey Johnson wanted bench coach Randy Knorr to tell Harper right away that he was being taken out of the game. But before Knorr could do anything, Harper was seen “destroying helmets on the runway,” according to Johnson.

“I said, ‘Randy, will you get to him. Please get to him.’” Johnson said. “I really didn’t have a choice. I didn’t care if it was Babe Ruth.”

Harper, who is never happy when he is not playing, is 18-for-85 [.212] with three home runs and eight RBIs during the month of August.

Game 117: Nationals at Giants

Adam Berry here on the shores of McCovey Cove, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

A few quick updates from AT&T Park…

-The Nationals have a potential return date set for shortstop Ian Desmond, and it’s a bit sooner than expected. Washington’s All-Star shortstop will be activated for Friday’s series opener against the Mets, provided he gets through his full pregame workouts Tuesday and Wednesday and a simulated game Thursday without incident.

“I plan on, unless Mike Rizzo ties my hand behind my back, activating him. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Nats manager Davey Johnson said. “He’s a horse. I want him back. We all want him back.”

-Jayson Werth is back in the Nats’ starting lineup. Werth reported to AT&T Park with his right ankle feeling much better than it did yesterday, when he was a late scratch from the lineup.

-Michael Morse, meanwhile, was held out of the lineup with a jammed right thumb, which caused him to leave last night’s game early. Johnson hoped to have him back for Wednesday’s series finale, assuming he’s in full health by then, but mentioned that he might not return until Friday.

-Desmond’s sim game on Thursday will be pitched by Chien-Ming Wang, who was recently pulled off his rehab assignment. If he looks fine there, Wang will “more than likely” restart his rehab assignment, Johnson said.

-Speaking of players who will likely join the Nats roster in September, Johnson said Anthony Rendon, promoted earlier today to Double-A Harrisburg, could be a candidate to be called up once the active rosters expand.

“He might be. We’ll see how he finishes up,” Johnson said. “This is the year of the young guys all around baseball, and he’s another one right in that mold.”

As for tonight’s lineups…

Nationals (72-44)
Danny Espinosa SS
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore LF
Jesus Flores C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Jordan Zimmermann RHP

Giants (63-53)
Angel Pagan CF
Marco Scutaro 2B
Melky Cabrera LF
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Brandon Crawford SS
Madison Bumgarner LHP

Nats Inbox: Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans’ questions

Are you finally on the Roger Bernadina bandwagon? He is having his best year offensively and we all saw his awesome catch against the Astros. Do you see him settling in as the Nats’ fourth outfielder during the foreseeable future or do you think he’ll be swimming in different waters next season?
— Tyler and Terry, Washington DC

I’ve always been on the Bernadina bandwagon. I’m simply not fond of the nickname, “The Shark,” because he doesn’t put up Albert Pujols numbers. I prefer the name, “Speed Racer,” because of the way he runs the bases.

There is no question that Bernadina is having a great year. I love the way he outplayed Rick Ankiel, who was released last month. Bernadina is having great at-bats — it helps that he shortened his swing — and playing great defense. He could be a fourth outfielder for years to come. I don’t see him playing every day for the Nationals. He could be trade bait during the offseason.

The Nats bullpen has been great this year. But they have been used a lot. Manager Davey Johnson seems reluctant to have his starters pitch the last three innings of a game — even if the pitch count is low. If this is going to be a postseason team, won’t they need a fresh bullpen? Is this just part of Davey’s managing personality?
— Chris, Marlborough, CT

I spoke to Johnson recently and he doesn’t want to over use his pitchers before the postseason begins. During the month of September, I expect the Nationals to call up extra relievers such as Christian Garcia, so I expect the Nationals’ bullpen to be rested by the postseason.

When Ian Desmond returns, I would assume that Jayson Werth will lead off and Ian Desmond will hit sixth. Is this what you think also?
— Jamie, New Brunswick, Canada

It’s hard to say. If both players can stay healthy, I could see both players leading off from time to time. I can also see Danny Espinosa leading off once in a while. During the offseason, it would not surprise me if the Nationals were looking for a leadoff hitter.

With the development of Bryce Harper, I do not see the urgency to acquire a center fielder for next season. They are overloaded in the outfield already. Do you agree?
— Rich R., Washington DC.

I disagree. They have almost nothing but corner outfielders. I think Harper is a better as a right or left fielder. While Bernadina is having a great year defensively in center field, the Nationals consider him a corner outfielder. They center fielder could come from the Minor League system [Eury Perez] or free agency [Michael Bourn].

With Adam LaRoche having a mutual option for next season, do you think he will decline his option due to such a great season? I was thinking that if LaRoche picks up the option as well as the Nats, the team could decide to deal either LaRoche or Michael Morse, get good value in return and then go after a center fielder in a trade.
— Alex H., London, England

It’s too early to answer the question about LaRoche and the mutual option. I think both sides will deal with the option after the season. I don’t think Morse will be traded because he has one more year left on his contract and could be put at first base for next year.

There is possibility they could wait for Perez and Brian Goodwin, but I’m expecting the Nationals to trade for a center fielder or sign one during the free agency period.

Although John Lannan has struggled this season at Triple A Syracuse, with his success with the Major League team, do you see a long-term future with him in the rotation again?
— Ben S. Concord. N.C.

The answer is no. It would not surprise me if he was non-tendered after the season. Provided that everybody is healthy or re-signed for next year, I see the rotation like this: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler.

– Bill Ladson

Game 115: Nationals at D-backs

Adam Berry here, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

Not a whole lot going on before today’s series finale against the D-backs at Chase Field, where the Nationals will try for their ninth straight win.

-You can check out the story from last night’s game here. Saturday’s Nats notebook also got a late-night update on Ian Desmond’s first swings.

-And, in case you missed it, Bill Ladson is still churning out stories from back on the east coast. You can read his Q&A with manager Davey Johnson here.

-One point that may have slipped under the radar last night: The Nats can play .500 baseball the rest of the way and win 95 games. Obviously they have higher aspirations, especially with the Braves still right behind them, but their skipper had that number in mind. Davey’s math wasn’t exactly on the mark, but his point is no less valid.

“I’m very aware of that,” Johnson said, smiling. “Not that I expect that to happen, but it’s kind of a mathematical equation. When you can play .500 ball, other clubs have to win around 80 percent of their games. … We don’t need anybody keeping us honest.”

Here are today’s lineups, with Jayson Werth getting the day off:

Nationals (71-43)
Danny Espinosa SS
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ross Detwiler LHP

D-backs (57-57)
Chris Young CF
Aaron Hill 2B
Jason Kubel LF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Justin Upton RF
Miguel Montero C
Chris Johnson 3B
John McDonald SS
Patrick Corbin LHP

Harper not in lineup because of back issues

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was not in Sunday’s lineup against the Red Sox because of lower back tightness — “mostly muscular” — according to manager Davey Johnson.

The injury is not considered serious and there isn’t any talk about Harper getting an MRI. Johnson said Harper most likely will be in the lineup on Monday against the Blue Jays.

Harper, 19, has had back issues for at least four days. Johnson would have never known about the injury if not for bench coach Randy Knorr and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz telling Johnson about Harper’s problem.

Later in the morning, Harper didn’t look like he was injured. He was seen jogging in left field at Fenway Park. Later in the day, he was seen hitting in the batting cage.

“Bryce hasn’t said anything to me, but we are just being on the safe side.” Johnson said. “Normally, I don’t have coaches and trainers saying that about players. … Anybody that has a little something going on, I have to be on the safe side. I give them a day.”

Harper’s back problems first surfaced on Thursday against the Mets. With one out in the top of the ninth inning, Mets third baseman David Wright hit the ball to right field. Harper went after the ball, dove and let the ball go by him for a triple. After throwing the ball to the cutoff man, Harper fell to the ground in pain.

After the game, Harper said he was OK, that it wasn’t a big deal. Harper most likely will be available to pinch hit against the Red Sox.

Some random notes on Espi, Nady, Harper

* Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa continues to be productive from the right side of the plate. On Friday, he went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and two runs scored. He raised his batting average to .359 [14-for-39].

“I feel like no one can get me out,” Espinosa said. “I feel pretty good. I have a good approach up there. I know what I can’t hit.”

On the other hand, from the left side of the plate, Espinosa has had problems all year long. Going into Saturday’s action against the Red Sox, he is 30-for-156 [.192]. Espinosa doesn’t have an explanation on why he is having problems from the left side of the plate. For most of his life, he says, Espinosa has been successful against right-handed pitching.

“It has been real weird for me,” Espinosa said. “My whole life I was a better left-handed hitter. It’s kind of confusing. I don’t understand it. Left-handed, I feel like, I’m not using my hands. I feel like I’m using my shoulders, my body, almost trying to create too much.

“Right-handed, I try to use my hands. … My strength will get there as long as my hand gets there, but it has been a work in progress, I guess, this whole year. It gets frustrating at times because I was a better hitter left-handed. It’s like, why all of a sudden am I struggling left-handed?”

* Lost in the Nationals’ 7-4 victory was the fact that outfielder Xavier Nady robbed Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of a solo homer in the third inning.

With Stephen Strasburg on the mound and the Nationals leading, 3-2, Gonzalez swung at a 0-1 pitch and hit the ball to deep right field.

Center fielder Bryce Harper shouted to Nady, “You have room, you have room.” Nady climbed the five-foot wall and caught the ball while on running on full speed.

“When I realized that it was in my glove, I kind of shocked myself,” Nady said. “With the sky — once I turned my head and ran — I didn’t pick up the ball until it was close to hitting me in the head. I didn’t pick it up immediately, but I was fortunate enough to hold on to it. I’m still in shock.”

* Although Bryce Harper went 3-for-5 against the Red Sox n Friday, manager Davey Johnson felt the 19-year-old made two mistakes in the games.

In the sixth inning, Harper singled off left-hander Rich Hill to drive in Tyler Moore. Harper was out trying to stretch the single into a double.

Although first-base coach Trent Jewett told Harper to go to second, Johnson felt Harper should have used his instincts and realized he didn’t have a shot to take the extra base.

“[Harper] saw the throw coming to second,” Johnson said. “He was going to hold, but Trent was assuming the ball was going to be [thrown to home plate], so he went on Trent’s instructions. I told [Harper], ‘You have to read that, no matter what he says. [Jewett] is thinking it’s going to be a close play at the plate, then you go give yourself up.’ Harper knew it.”

The second mistake was Harper, who batted second during the game, tried to bunt to reach base.

“I don’t want him to do that,” Johnson said. “I don’t know where that came from, what box of Cracker Jacks he got that out of. … I didn’t ask him about the bunt, but I’ll get to that tomorrow.”

* Stat of the day courtesy of the Red Sox: Harper’s six home runs this season are the most by teenager since Adrian Beltre had seven with the Dodgers in 1998 with the Dodgers.

Nats’ Johnson satisfied with Zimmermann’s start

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann made his fourth start of the spring in a 5-1 loss to the Astros on Friday. He pitched five innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. Zimmermann threw 74 pitches, 51 strikes.

Manager Davey Johnson wasn’t concerned that Zimmermann gave up the four runs. The skipper just wanted Zimmermann to pitch five innings and get ready for Opening Day.

“The results weren’t that good, but he threw the ball well,” Johnson said. “He gave me five innings, which I wanted to see. Five innings is more important to me than the pitch count. He has one more start before the regular season starts. I like the way he is throwing. That’s the big thing.”

Zimmermann is expected to pitch the third game of a three-gane series against the Cubs on April 8th at Wrigley Field.

Nats pitchers, catchers have first workouts

Nationals pitchers and catchers worked out for the first time Tuesday and — by all accounts – it was everything manager Davey Johnson was looking for.

Before things got started, Johnson had a meeting with his players at 9:45 a.m. ET. He told his pitchers to throw only fastball and change ups. There wasn’t a need to throw breaking balls or try to impress the skipper on the first day. Johnson also told the players if they had a problem, always go to him or the coaches for answers.

“I want to institute things that I’m comfortable with,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to stress a guy’s elbow or shoulder too much,” Johnson said. “Those are the kind of things that I need to get across. They are all going to play. I know I have 10 starters and [some] are going to piggy back [the other starters]. They are going to get their innings and the relievers will follow them at least through the first two rotations.”

Left-handers Gio Gonzalez and Sean Burnett were unable to have bullpen sessions in front of Johnson. Instead, they threw at Space Coast Stadium with pitching coordinator Spin Williams observing. Gonzalez and Burnett had to deal with the Nationals production staff, who were shooting video for the Jumbotron at Nationals Park.

“It was a good camp even though we were interrupted a little bit with the photographers for the Jumbotron, whatever,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get to see Gio, but Spin gave a good report on him. He was throwing well. Burnett was OK and now they are done with that. We can now concentrate what we have to do.”

During one bullpen session, Johnson was seen talking to right-hander Stephen Strasburg. It marked the first time since 2010 that Strasburg wasn’t rehabbing his elbow.

Last year, Strasburg spent most of the season recovering from elbow reconstruction. According to Johnson, Strasburg was happy he could to be throw a bullpen session like the rest of his teammates.

“I asked, ‘It’s nice to be one of the boys, Isn’t it?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ rather than be a rehabber. He is just one of the guys. He is and he likes that.”

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