Johnson asking for more from his power hitters

Davey Johnson was asked during his pregame session with reporters about his experience facing the Yankees.

"I have some good memories," Johnson said. "I (also) have some bad memories of 12-year-olds reaching over the field and catching balls."

Ah, Jeffrey Maier. You continue to haunt those associated with the Orioles even today.

On their last six-game road trip, the Nationals scored just over five runs a game, boosting their season average to 3.93 runs per contest. The offense has started to come around, which is giving the pitching staff a little more breathing room to work with.

"On this last road trip, our offense seems to have woken up a little bit, and we've started to score some runs," Johnson said.

Still, the Nats are getting minimal offensive production from Ryan Zimmerman, who is hitting just .239 with three home runs and 22 RBIs, and Michael Morse has yet to find a groove since coming off the DL, batting .205 with three RBIs.

Zimmerman did miss 17 games while on the DL due to shoulder inflammation, but the fact that he has just one-third as many home runs as Ian Desmond, and less than half as many homers as Bryce Harper, is shocking.

Johnson knows he'll need those guys to start producing if this team is going to make a deep run this season.

"I need 'em, I need 'em badly," Johnson said. "And I know they're gonna be there. Both are coming off some injuries, and their timing's not exactly right. ... I need the middle of my lineup to perform. That's critical in scoring runs. If they were hitting on this road trip, could've made it a lot easier."

Meanwhile, Johnson said that reliever Ryan Mattheus is getting close to returning from the disabled list. Mattheus has been on a rehab assignment working back from plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but he could return in the near future.

Fellow reliever Henry Rodriguez (strained right index finger) will go out on a rehab assignment in the next couple days, Johnson said.

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