Manager Davey Johnson said the special ceremony prior to game one was a nice moment that he will not forget - and it went better than he thought it would. He spoke after the Nationals walked off in the nightcap with a 5-4 victory over the Marlins.
“I was kind of dreading it and then it was very pleasant,” he said. “I was very moved by ownership, front office, the fans and the players.”
It also got him to think of some of his earliest baseball memories.
“I don’t usually think back and I was thinking back a million experiences, starting back in Winter Park, neighbor Joe Haynes,” Johnson said. “He liked me, he thought I had some talent, took me to the ballpark, ended up managing the team he was playing for. I made it to the top, going out to pasture, so it was fun. I don’t usually go that far back.”
Stephen Strasburg went six innings, allowing six hits and three runs. Johnson said it was not what he normally sees from Strasburg.
“He was actually awful,” Johnson said. “He was. Every pitch he threw was up. He has got such great stuff but everything was belt high. I grew to love him when he pitched for me in the Olympics in Beijing. He is a pitcher, he has command, everything is right on the knees. Even the curveball was belt-high. Fastball was up all night. It was not typical Stephen.
“He had 12 days where he didn’t pitch. He has such good stuff. When he gets the mindset that all he has to do is go after them and make his pitches and locate them, (it) doesn’t matter how fast they are or whatever, he is going to be real dominant. But that wasn’t vintage Strasburg for me tonight.”
Johnson said that Strasburg’s forearm was good after the game and he will make his 30th start as scheduled next week.
“I think he is fine,” Johnson said. “I really wanted to win that game for him, get him to .500. It wasn’t meant to be.”
And with the team embarking on its final regular season road trip, Johnson looked back on what he felt was another quick season. But he still believes the team has a chance to make it to the postseason.
“This season went like that, last season went like that,” Johnson said, snapping his fingers. “We ain’t finished. I take nothing for granted. I still think we got a good shot. We need to win them all. I have been one strike, two runs down, one strike away and we have come back. Don’t lose the faith.”