ATLANTA - For the fifth time this season, Davey Johnson met with reporters following a loss to the Braves.
“Do we have to talk about this one?” Johnson said with a smirk on his face.
Had the Nationals not just finished the month of April with a disappointing 13-14 record, Johnson might’ve been in full-blown smile mode when making that comment. Knowing how long the season is and how many games remain, he’s usually fairly jolly at this point in the year, even after a loss.
Instead, Johnson had to wrap up not just another poor showing by his team in an 8-1 loss, but the Nats’ first sub-.500 record month since September 2011.
One start after a dominating eight-inning, one-hit performance against the Reds, Gio Gonzalez was smacked around by the Braves tonight. He allowed five runs on seven hits over four innings, and while his stuff was good enough for him to strike out nine hitters, he was so wild that he walked five and threw a wild pitch.
“I liked the way he started. He looked like he was going right after ‘em,” Johnson said. “Obviously he wasn’t keeping the ball down, hitting his spots. They hit a couple balls hard and scored a few runs off him ... and then he got a little wilder. Just a tough outing for him. When you pitch, you’ve got to hit your spots, you’ve got to make good pitches. He just didn’t do it.
“I mean, he punched out a lot of guys, but a lot of ‘em were full counts, or he wasted a lot of pitches on a lot of hitters. But you’ve got to tip your hat to the other guy (Tim Hudson). He pitched a heck of a ballgame. Made a lot of pitches and also swung the bat good. It’s just one game.”
As much as the Braves were able to get going off Gonzalez today, the Nats got that little against Hudson, who picked up his 200th career victory by surrendering just one run on three hits over seven innings.
“That’s kind of the best I’ve seen him,” Johnson said. “He used all his pitches, as usual. He made a lot of good pitches, he was very predictable. He’d give you something soft away, hard in, he pitched a heck of a ballgame.”
Through their first 27 ballgames this season, the Nationals have played very few well-rounded games. None of those games have come against Atlanta.
They seem to still be missing something in a number of facets.
“The pitchers haven’t been consistent, a couple guys struggling, some key guys on the offense are not doing the things they’re capable of doing,” Johnson said. “Trying to get going. It snowballs.”
What’s a manager to do when his team is scuffling like this? Shake up the lineup yet again.
“(I’ll) try some different guys tomorrow,” Johnson said. “That’s all we can do.”