Nationals manager Davey Johnson held his first closed-door clubhouse meeting before Wednesday's game, seeking to energize a club that's lost seven of 10 since the All-Star break.
Johnson, who shuffled the Nationals' lineup on Wednesday and sat right fielder Jayson Werth, center fielder Roger Bernadina and shortstop Ian Desmond, said he told the team he'd be using his bench more often than he has in his first 24 games as manager.
"I told them what I told you - that I basically had a set lineup, the one that gave us what I thought was the best chance to win," Johnson said. "I also felt like you don't win pennants with just 15 guys. You win pennants with 25."
Since he became the manager on June 27, Johnson has often been befuddled by why the Nationals' offense has underachieved; they've scored only 3.7 runs per game since he took over, frustrating a manager who's built his career on robust offenses.
Now, he might try giving players more frequent days off, more to ease some of the mental pressure of struggling all season than anything else. And, as Johnson said, his reserves haven't played much worse than some of his starters.
"Getting on the same page with players is more important than resting players, especially since so many of them are young," he said. "You don't know what it's like to be physically tired, and you probably don't consider the mental part of it at all."