WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson watches play during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on July 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Washington Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson stood by his bold statements about his Nats winning the pennant this season in a television appearance from Nats Park, telling ESPN's Pardon The Interruption hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon the team is proving him right. "We've got the best team in our league, man," the Nats' 69-year-old skipper said this afternoon, "We've shown that." Asked if he would have said the same sort of thing when he first started as a manager back in 1984, Johnson told Mr. Kornheiser, "I seem to recall me saying one time in '86 that we're not only going to win the division, but we're going to dominate it." The current Nats' skipper was, of course, the manager who led the 1986 New York Mets to a World Series championship.
"Last August," the manager said, explaining his confidence in the Nationals, "When I had these guys after Jim Riggleman resigned, I really liked the makeup. I really like the talent level. [D.C. GM Mike] Rizzo has done a great job putting this organization together and I really felt that we could win our division if everybody just played up to their capabilities. We have a lot of young players. That's the key. And that's really the only joy for a manager, is seeing guys do the things you know they're capable of doing."
In response to the inevitable Stephen Strasburg innings limit question, Johnson told Michael Wilbon, "One of my rules of managing is, 'I try to do what's best today with an eye on tomorrow,' and what's best for Strasburg is looking ahead in his future and if all the reports that I get [are] the best thing I can do is after 160 innings shut him down, that's what we did to Jordan Zimmermann last year although we were in third place so it's a little bit different, but it's the same deal, you do what's best for the player not only for today but for the long haul."
[ed. note - "It's probably best to try not to focus on the 160.0 inning #, I doubt Davey 'leaked' the real number, more likely speaking generally."]
• One other note... While discussing Bo Porter's decision to send pitcher Edwin Jackson home from second on a Bryce Harper single in last night's game, the Nats' manager told reporters he was okay with his third base coach's decision because neither of them knew much about Phillies' outfielder Domonic Brown's arm. "Bo knows the way I feel," Davey Johnson explained, "If there's ever any doubt, send him, I want to know." In retrospect, Johnson said they probably shouldn't have sent E-Jax around, but, "I'd never seen [Brown] even throw and I don't think Bo's ever seen him throw. He made a heck of a throw to get him." Lesson learned. The important takeaway, however, is that one of Davey Johnson's personal mottos is, "If there's ever any doubt, send him, I want to know."