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Instant analysis: Diamondbacks 3, Nats 2

Sep 29, 2013, 6:40 PM EDT

Associated Press Associated Press

Game in a nutshell: For the final game of his illustrious managerial career, Davey Johnson decided to let his rookies and reserves take the field while his regulars got to enjoy the view from the dugout. Turns out those kids put together a solid performance of their own. Tanner Roark completed a surprising and impressive rookie campaign with seven innings of 1-run ball. Tyler Moore, Zach Walters and Steve Lombardozzi combined to produce two runs in the top of the sixth and give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Ryan Mattheus, though, coughed up the lead in the bottom of the eighth and forced his teammates to try to mount one final rally in the ninth. They couldn’t do it, so the Nationals finished their season with an 86-76 record, four games behind the Reds for the final Wild Card berth in the NL. And Johnson ends his career in disappointing fashion.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals’ lone rally of the day came via well-struck balls from three young players. Moore roped a grounder to third and reached on what was scored an error to open the sixth inning. Walters then roped a triple past Gerardo Parra in right field, scoring Moore. Lombardozzi capped it off with an RBI single, the third time he reached base on the day.

Pitching highlight: What a remarkable rookie campaign this turned out to be for Roark. A virtual unknown in the Nationals’ farm system when the season began, he earned his first big-league promotion over the summer, pitched well out of the bullpen to earn a shot in the rotation and then dominated after that. With seven innings of 1 (unearned) run ball, the 26-year-old right-hander finished 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA. He allowed only 49 baserunners in 53 2/3 innings, showed legitimate “stuff” and also showed he knows a thing or two about the art of pitching. Will the Nationals hand him a spot in the 2014 rotation? Probably not. But he’s going to be called upon at some point to contribute next season, no doubt about it.

Key stat: Davey Johnson finished his managerial career with a 1,372-1,071 record, six division titles and one World Series title. He’s only the 15th manager in MLB history to own a record at least 300 games over the .500 mark.

Up next: Well, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Viera in approximately 140 days.

  1. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Bye Davey. You were my hero on the Mets so long ago, and then I got you back. I wish you hadn’t brought in Craig, but our relationship wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t question the management of the BP. I wish you all the best. Truly truly truly.

  2. janebeard - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    I mean I wish you HAD brought in Craig.

  3. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    140 days… 4 and 1/2 months.

    Good-bye, Mr. Johnson, and God be with you.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    why is everyone assuming Davey won’t manage again? anyways, off-season is gonna be long.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Partly because Davey himself said so. Said he was interested in teaching and helping with amateur ball. A few months of fishing and golfing, he could change his mind, of course.

      • Eric - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM

        He definitely isn’t slamming the for on the possibility… In the post game presser he said (paraphrase), “I’m not falling off the face of the earth… Maybe I’ll even see you guys again next year.”

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        I feel like he might.

        anyways, hope we have seen last of matheus.

  5. Manassas Nats Fan - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Davey brings in worthless Mattheus 6.37 ERA.

    Way to grap defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Yeah. Our AAA guys and bench guys almost beat their regulars… Davey gave Mattheus one last chance and he blew it. No sympathy. He’s cheap, not even arb-eligible until 2015. Rizzo will find someone to take him off our hands. What we need is to get lucky–to find and rehab a guy like Liriano.

    • Steady Eddie - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      I would like to think Davey felt Rizzo had some remaining hope that Mattheus could recover his 2012 form, and wanted to give “Locker” enough room to work himself out of Rizzo’s and the team’s patience.

      I’d like to think that, but it is as NL indicated, of a piece with Davey’s inflexibility in changing pitchers and especially the BP all year.

      Guess it doesn’t really matter as long as Mattheus is somewhere else. Even Stracuse for a while is ISk as long as it’s only to get some value out of moving him somewhere else.

      • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        Davey was a stats guy, but the stats show that a pitcher’s effectiveness drops dramatically the 3rd time through the order. Yet he left Ohlendorf in, Roark in (got lucky today), etc., when we had September call-ups, and he could mix and match to his heart’s content.

        Well, all I can say is the next guy will have flaws as a manager, we just don’t know what they are yet!

      • adcwonk - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        Huh? Are you saying that Ohlie or Roark should never pitch past the 5th innings (because usually by at least the 6th inning is when he’s facing batters the 3rd time)

        He was rewarding Tanner’s great pitching by letting him go for a while. And Tanner did great — he pitched a 1-2-3 6th inning (which was third time through), and did fine in the 7th inning, too — the walk was after a couple of fouls, the hit was a grounder through the infield.

        He pitches 7 innings, 3 hits, and your criticizing Davey for letting him pitch 7? Really?

  6. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Time to launder all the jerseys and pack them away. Check everything in the game bag so it’s ready for next season. Watch a pointy ball game for the first time in 2013…

    Will observe the playoffs with tepid attention==> it is baseball, after all. But more interested in seeing if any of our prospects look good in the Arizona Fall League. Rizzo can’t make any moves until after the WS, so it’s like everything is frozen, except for the endless speculation.

  7. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Thanks for everything, Davey. Will miss watching Nats baseball. Le. Sigh.

  8. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Oh, and good game, Ro-ark.

  9. natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Is it just me, or was Tuffy rather scruffy? That’s all for this installment of deep thoughts from natsfan1a. Thanks for reading.

  10. dgourds - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Good day. Roark finishes his rookie year strong without giving up an earned run. He’s cemented his place the rotation. Mattheus reinforced how bad he is and that he doesn’t belong on the team. Good day. See ya Davey. Pick a good one Mikey.

  11. adcwonk - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    I’ll miss you Davey (and, like janebeard up above, you were one of my heroes back when you started your managerial career with the Mets 30 years ago).

    You turned a team of “maybe we can win today” into a team of “let’s win today”

    You helped guide a team that finished above .500 two years in a row — first time it’s happened to this franchise in a decade.

    184 wins over the last two years is among the tops in MLB.

    • NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      This season was a disappointment, but certainly not a failure. Nats were the last NL team to get eliminated. Meaningful baseball was played up until the last week of September. The boys gave us a good show.

      We needed two teams to collapse, the D-Backs and one of the NL Central teams. The D-Backs did, but the NL Central teams didn’t…But it was a fun ride. And as I see the patches on the Nats’ sleeves, I’m reminded baseball isn’t everything, a lot happened this year.

      • adcwonk - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        Indeed. Nats had the sixth best team. But only the top five go . . .

        But I was looking at a larger perspective. In 2011 we were just hoping to win. After that, the attitude is: we’re good enough to be in the playoffs.

        While many criticize Davey’s “world series or bust” comment (as if every other pundit wasn’t saying the same thing) — we might recall that at the start of 2012 Davey said: “they should fire me if we don’t make the playoffs.”

      • natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        Well said.

      • natsfan1a - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        Dopey nesting layout. I meant that for NatsLady, not that Wonk doesn’t have a lot of good things to say. :-)

  12. NatsLady - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    People say the manager doesn’t matter that much, and I don’t think Davey cost us a post-season berth. Too many other things happened, and Davey did make a lot of good moves.

    However, you look at Cleveland and Boston, and those are two teams where I think the manager made a big difference–in a positive way. It’s harder to judge negatives, especially with managers outside your division that you don’t know well. It will be interesting to see if Sveum (Cubs) loses his job on Monday.

  13. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Just finished watching the replay (okay, so I skipped forward here and there). What a shame. Another good, solid outing by Tanner Roark. Another case of the Nats pitching staff — even given the 8th inning quasi-meltdown — holding the other team to three runs and still losing (yes, I know the regulars weren’t playing, but still…). Oh well, there’s always next season.

  14. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Rules question: I was just showing my daughter the walk-off wild pitch that gave Henderson Alvarez his no-hit W. I pointed out that he was in the on-deck circle (as had a couple of tweets) and that the bases were loaded with two outs. She asked: Why is he even in the on-deck circle? The batter would either generate a run and the game would be over (as it was) or the batter would ‘produce an out and the game would move into the 10th. Either way, no AB for Mr. Alvarez. The best I could say was that the rules require a batter in the on-deck circle (as F.P. Santangelo likes to point out), but just wondering if that would/could/should be enforced in such a walk-off situation. Any thoughts?

  15. senators69 - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Best wishes, Davey!

    Will be interesting to see what Rizzo does with the pitching staff. We need to create a strong, deep staff like the Cards.

    Hard to keep Roark off the roster next year, but I’m not sure they start the year with Tanner in the rotation. Roark could be used a long reliever and spot starter. Rizzo should seek to acquire a top-flight free agent arm. Hope Detwiler is better and back to where he was, in which case just need one (not two) good starter.

    T.Jordan probably starts in Syracuse (in MLB reverse capacity). C Garcia? How is he doing? If ok probably used in long relief. Then again, with Roark, those two would cover righties in long relief.

    Hot stove already!

    • Eric - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      Was thinking about Garcia a few minutes ago… definitely curious about his status…

  16. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Johnson not only stuck by his players he stuck by them in the roles they were assigned. I don’t know what would have been wrong w/ pitching Clippard or Storen in the final game of the season but he definitely wasn’t going to put Stammen in a short-relief, set-up spot. That role has been assigned to Mattheus and, dad gum it, that was who was going to pitch.

    I hope Mattheus understands next spring that the only job he is guaranteed is in the bullpen in Syracuse. Haren said his problems were all mental — hopefully Mattheus’s problems were mental too but it looks like it will take electro-shock to resolve them. Usually a player having a crummy season has moments that at least want to make you feel sympathetic in his struggles; Mattheus didn’t have a single one that I remember. He is the one player I want gone — with no ambivalence. There are others I know aren’t coming back — Haren, Tracy — and others I hope they improve on — Abad (and maybe Krol and Cedeno), Hairston and Solano. The rest can pretty much stay. I’ve come around on Lombardozzi; though I never want to see him as a starter he was pretty good in the second half, led the league in PHs (which is better than going .150 as a PH) and most important his teammates seem to have a lot of faith in him.

    They need a LH or switch hitting fourth OF who can play every day if necessary, another LH bat (probably an IF) and another RH hitter (to replace Hairston) and a backup catcher. And a whole lot of arms in the BP — what looked at the beginning of the year to be eight deep turned out to be four, and counting on both Storen and Soriano throughout next season requires a lot of faith.

  17. adcwonk - Sep 29, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Matthues had six straight solid, scoreless, appearances — then the game where he blew up, followed by his locker-fight-loss. He never really regained that form after he came back. And he did pretty decently in 2012 — appearing in 66 games. So, I think the jury’s out as to whether he can regain that form. It’s possible.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 53 --
ATLANTA 67 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 10.0
NEW YORK 60 68 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
THU: OFF
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