Aug 25, 2011, 4:07 AM EDT
As Wednesday night’s game was playing out before him, Davey Johnson made a mental note to pull Livan Hernandez after seven innings. The veteran right-hander had done everything in his power to give the Nationals a chance to win, allowing two early runs (aided in part by an error) and otherwise shutting down a first-place Diamondbacks lineup.
But as the eighth inning approached, Johnson had a change of heart. Hernandez had been cruising. His pitch count sat at only 83, and 62 of those pitches had been strikes. The Nationals trailed by two runs, but Hernandez seemed as likely as anyone out of the bullpen to toss another scoreless inning and give his teammates a chance to mount a rally.
By the end of the night, once the Diamondbacks had put the finishing touches on a 4-2 victory, Johnson was kicking himself for calling an audible at the line of scrimmage, one he felt helped cost his team the game.
“I take responsibility for that one,” the manager said. “He was really pitching a great game. And when he’s good, he’s pretty good. I had it in my mind: If he gives me seven, I’m getting him out of there. And I balked. He got in trouble and couldn’t get out of it. Like they say,
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