Good thing the Nationals will play 18 innings today.
Plenty of chances to get last night’s stinker out of their minds.
With Davey Johnson using five relievers yesterday, he’ll likely have a bit of a tough time navigating his way through today’s doubleheader.
Surprisingly, Johnson said he could use Drew Storen again today for a third straight day, and he’ll have a rested Craig Stammen, Ryan Mattheus and Henry Rodriguez. Still, he’ll have to bring his managerial A-game today to try and get his guys back in the win column while making sure his relievers’ arms remain attached to their bodies.
The good news for Johnson is that Edwin Jackson will start the first game of the twin-bill.
He’s probably good for at least seven innings given his past history and ability to remain effective with an elevated pitch count. Jackson can be counted on to stay in the game regardless of whether he’s throwing a gem or getting his teeth kicked in. He’s a gamer.
John Lannan will start the second game later tonight. In his 2012 major league debut, the lefty will also need to eat innings and do his best to save the bullpen.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, Lannan isn’t exactly riding a hot streak entering today; he’s pitched to a 7.27 ERA in three starts at Triple-A Syracuse this month.
Of course, the Braves had to work deep into their bullpen last night, too, and they ended up using six relievers. They’re in the same boat the Nats are today.
Looking back on last night, I’ve got a couple final takeaways.
I haven’t seen a ball hit as far as Michael Morse’s first inning home run in person this entire season. My goodness, that thing was crushed, and was recorded as the longest homer in Nats Park history.
Danny Espinosa is going to have a big second half of the season. I’m convinced. His game-tying solo shot in the bottom of the ninth came from the left side of the plate against a reliever (Craig Kimbrel) who has been absolutely on fire this year.
Tyler Clippard just isn’t himself right now. He insists nothing’s wrong physically and isn’t worn down despite an increased workload. But he’s now allowed seven runs over his last three innings, had four straight shaky performances and needed a ton of pitches to navigate his way through his outings.
I’m a bit surprised that Johnson went as hard as he did with his comments on Stephen Strasburg. I haven’t heard the skipper that critical of his ace all season.
Finally, general manager Mike Rizzo walked through the clubhouse last night with a smile on his face, going around to players and trying to emotionally pick them up a bit. He jokingly told reporters to quit acting like we were at a funeral, insisting that his team will be back ready to fight today.
“We’re in first,” Rizzo said calmly. “I like it.”
Update: The Nationals just announced that Xavier Nady has been designated for assignment and John Lannan has been recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. Lannan will start the second game of today’s doubleheader. In 40 games for the Nationals, Nady was hitting .157 with three home runs and six RBIs.