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Game 162: Nats at Diamondbacks

Sep 29, 2013, 1:19 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

PHOENIX — And so we have reached the end of the road. A long, often frustrating, still entertaining season will conclude today here at Chase Field, with the Nationals falling short of their lofty expectations but still finishing with either 86 or 87 wins, hardly a terrible record by any stretch of the imagination.

The story today, though, is Davey Johnson, who manages the 2,443rd — and final — game of his big-league career. It’s been an emotional week for the 70-year-old, beginning with last Sunday’s tribute before the home finale at Nationals Park and continuing throughout this final road trip. Today, Davey will sit back, reflect and enjoy the show before heading off into the sunset.

With nothing at stake in this game, Johnson is fielding a lineup almost entirely of backups. Tanner Roark gets the start instead of Gio Gonzalez, and a host of other young guys will get a chance to play after spending much of the last month on the bench.

No matter who plays, I’ll have updates throughout right here, and plenty of postgame coverage from the final game of a one-of-a-kind skipper…

Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 4:10 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Roof closed

LF Jeff Kobernus
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Scott Hairston
1B Tyler Moore
SS Zach Walters
2B Steve Lombardozzi
C Jhonatan Solano
CF Eury Perez
RHP Tanner Roark

SS Willie Bloomquist
LF Adam Eaton
1B Paul Goldschmidt
3B Martin Prado
2B Aaron Hill
CF A.J. Pollack
RF Gerardo Parra
C Tuffy Gosewisch
LHP Wade Miley

HP Tripp Gibson
1B Tim McClelland (cc)
2B Marty Foster
3B Wally Bell

4:10 p.m. — And we’re underway with a strike from Wade Miley to Jeff Kobernus. The D’backs took a moment to recognize Davey Johnson shortly before first pitch. He waved to the crowd and then did a little shimmy back into the dugout.

4:16 p.m. — A couple of base hits for the Nats in the top of the first via Anthony Rendon and Tyler Moore. Zach Walters then gave one a ride to deep right-center but just missed reaching the pool for his first career homer. Gerardo Parra hauled it in at the fence, so the Nats are held scoreless in the inning.

4:24 p.m. — A rough start to the afternoon for Tanner Roark. He allowed a leadoff single, then uncorked a ghastly throw in the general vicinity of first base for a really ugly error. That ultimately allowed Willie Bloomquist to score on Paul Goldschmidt’s sac fly to center. So it’s 1-0 D’backs after one.

4:40 p.m. — Roark settled down in the second, getting three groundballs, including one off the bat off the one and only Tuffy Gosewisch (who just so happens to be a fellow alum of Horizon High School, slightly ahead on the list of yours truly). Still 1-0 Arizona after two.

4:56 p.m. — Make it nine in a row retired by Roark since that ragged start to his afternoon. The Nats, meanwhile, have put five men on base in three innings against Miley but have advanced only one of them past first base. We go to the fourth.

5:12 p.m. — This one continues to progress along, both pitchers in a groove. It remains a 1-0 D’backs lead as we move to the fifth.

5:18 p.m. — Roark may be able to swing the bat (he singled up the middle to lead off the fifth) but he could still use a little work in the baserunning department. He got doubled off second base easily after Adam Eaton snagged Anthony Rendon’s line drive to deep left. The Nats have six hits and eight baserunners so far tonight, but still zero runs.

5:38 p.m. — And the Nats take the lead in the top of the sixth, finally delivering with men on base. They did get some help from the Diamondbacks defense, which was charged with two errors in the inning (though you could certainly make the case either could have been scored a hit). The second error, by right fielder Gerardo Parra, brought home Tyler Moore. Steve Lombardozzi then drilled a single to left to bring home the second run, giving the Nats a 2-1 lead in the middle of the sixth.

5:47 p.m. — Tanner Roark, ladies and gentlemen. He’s now through six innings of 1-run, 2-hit ball, and he’s only thrown 69 pitches. What a pleasantly unexpected rookie season for the right-hander. He has now put only 47 men on base in 52 2/3 big-league innings. That’s pretty remarkable.

6:10 p.m. — Wow, Roark gets into a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh and pitches his way out of it. He struck out my man Tuffy looking at a fastball, then got Wil (Who?) Nieves to ground out to end the inning and preserve the 2-1 lead. That fired up the Nats dugout, which greeted Tanner with high-fives and back slaps as he arrived at the dugout. Nice job.

6:16 p.m. — Ryan Mattheus in for the eighth, so that’s it for Roark. If the Nats can hold this 2-1 lead, he’ll finish 8-1 with a 1.51 ERA. Not bad at all.

6:33 p.m. — Well, so much for that. Mattheus gave up four hits in the bottom of the eighth and that prevents Roark from getting the win and leaves the Nats in a 3-2 hole and down to their last three outs. Davey made one final trip to the mound, one he would have preferred not to make.

6:40 p.m. — That’s a wrap. The Nats lose the finale, 3-2. They finish 86-76, four games behind the Reds for the final spot in the playoffs. And Davey Johnson finishes his career 1,372-1,071, only the 15th manager in MLB history at least 300 games over the .500 mark.

  1. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    “Today, Davey will sit back, reflect and enjoy the show before heading off into the sunset.”

    That, or CANNONBALL! Last one in’s a rotten egg.

    Anyoo. Planning to watch in real time today. Go, Ro-ark! Go, NATS!! Love you guys.

  2. natsguy - Sep 29, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Its interesting how anticlimatic this season has become.

  3. Hiram Hover - Sep 29, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Love the name of the Dbacks catcher – Tuffy Gosewisch.

    • natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Truly a candidate for the all-awesome-names team.

  4. Sonny G 10 - Sep 29, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Well, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the last game of the season. Going to be a long, hard off-season with no baseball. Looking forward to finding out who the next manager is going to be.

  5. Baseballswami - Sep 29, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I am going to try to enjoy watching the young uns play. Randy in charge?

  6. Baseballswami - Sep 29, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Hairston not exactly young…

  7. Baseballswami - Sep 29, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    And this lineup is hilarious.

  8. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Happy that the babies ate doing ok here. Why not let them play? good hustle Steve!

  9. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I will say that I miss all the in-game comments. It’s the format of the new site. Oh well.

  10. Section 222 - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Never fear Jane, when the Nats are playing meaningful baseball games again, the comments will pick up. I don’t think the new format will deter us.

  11. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    ZACH DID GET A HIT. I’m shouting,I know. I hope so 222. It’s been slim in here since the format change. WHich I know wasn’t Mark’s doing.

  12. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    The kids look they are having fun.

    Imagine being into the 13th inning in Houston…
    And the Tigers got swept by the Fish, with today’s game being a walk-off, wild-pitch, no-hitter.

  13. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    I will even miss the Hyundai commercials. Not the Luna ones. Though check back in December. Maybe even those.

  14. Baseballswami - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Things are getting mighty interesting in the AL. Game 163 anyone???

  15. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    I agree Swami! I want the Angels to spoil it, I have to say.

  16. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    come on rays. gotta win it tomorrow.

  17. Eric - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Triple awarded to Walters… nice.

    • janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      makes me really happy, too!

  18. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Cleveland won 10 straight and 15 of its final 17 games, and all they get is the WC. At least they don’t have to play the tie-breaker.

    Lesson: win the Division. That’s what Atlanta set out to do from Day One.

  19. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Get rid of Ryan Mattheus. Seriously, I don’t want to see his mug next spring.

  20. Steady Eddie - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    This is cruel and unusual punishment for Tanner, that Davey is leaving “Locker” Mattheus in to give away his win.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      FP says the D-Backs are No. 1 in comeback wins, “you see why.” Yeah, I see why, LOUSY RELIEVERS!!!!

  21. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    You have to wonder why Davey did this instead of putting in Clip? not the way to go out. Sheesh.

  22. Sonny G 10 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Why bring in Mattheus? Good as giving the game away. Why not Clip? He’s got all winter to rest!

  23. Section 222 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    No reason to use Clip in a meaningless game, but should have used Eric Davis or another youngster. We’ve seen all we need to see of Ryan Mattheus this year, or for the future.

    Too bad for Roark, but that win stat means diddly.

    • Steady Eddie - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      We all know how unreflective W-L can be of how someone actually pitches, but meaningless to the players? Not at all, especially the younger ones. You think Stras didn’t care that he didn’t get to 10 wins, or JZimm to 20?

      • Section 222 - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:54 PM

        Actually, I’ll bet that Stras didn’t care that he didn’t make it to 10 wins. He’s smarter than that, and even with 10 wins his season has to be judged on other more meaningful stats. JZnn to 20 is another story because 20 is such a long regarded milestone, as dumb as that is. But 10 versus 9, nah. And I’m sure Boras will remind him anyway, as will Znn’s agent.

        And let’s get serious about Roark — his first four wins came in relief. I really don’t think he’s losing much sleep about not getting No. 8 today. He knows he pitched well today and helped his cause for next year regardless of whether he got a win. And he knows his win total this year was a fluke.

  24. Sonny G 10 - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Now, Davey comes out when its friggin too late!!

  25. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    The problem wasn’t THIS game–it was that Davey did this too often when we still had chances. Every September game should have been managed like it was game 7, you have a zillion guys in the bullpen. USE THEM, don’t ask the starter for that one extra inning, that one extra time around the line-up.

  26. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Davey again doesnt know when to pull a reliever.

    Mattheus needs to not return next year.

  27. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    A gift from Davey.

    I hope new manager better understand bullpen use better. Especially in September.

  28. gpburdell60 - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    A loss in April counts just as much as a loss in September. The Nats’ really hot September means nothing. The playoffs are for teams that play well consistently all season.The Nats didn’t do that.





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