May 12, 2013, 11:00 PM EST
There’s no telling how Sunday’s game at Nationals Park would have ended had Gio Gonzalez still been on the mound for the eighth and ninth innings, trying to finish off a 2-hit shutout. Perhaps the Nationals still would have found a way to lose to the Cubs amid a flurry of seeing-eye singles, a freak throw that ricocheted off a bat and a highly questionable strike zone from fill-in umpire John Tumpane.
To be sure, plenty of things went wrong for the Nationals over the final two innings of their 2-1 loss. But manager Davey Johnson’s decision to pinch-hit for Gonzalez in the bottom of the seventh and entrust the rest of the game to his bullpen set in motion the chain of events that made it all possible.
“We’ve got a 1-run lead,” Johnson explained. “Also, very seldom early in the season will I let a guy go out there and if he gets a guy on … I don’t want him to lose a ballgame late in the game. Just the way I manage. Chalk it up to me. You don’t like it? Chalk it up to me. Didn’t work out.”
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Trade official, Turner can't join Nats til June
- Jerry Blevins on Japan, hoping for better results with Nats in 2015
- Moore, Taylor hope to be in mix for Nats' bench spots
- Report: Braves continue makeover, trade star OF Justin Upton
- Drew Storen goes 1-on-1 with Mark Zuckerman at NatsFest
- Winter Classic rink construction well underway at Nats Park
- Nats recall NLDS, watching Giants win World Series
- 'Baseball in the District' - Kurkjian, Zuckerman & Corcoran talk Nats
- How the Nats' trade impacts Desmond's future
- Nats trade Souza in 3-team deal, get Turner from Padres