Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Good news? Ok. X-rays on Danny Espinosa's right wrist were negative according to Washington Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson. Atlanta Braves' lefty Paul Maholm hit the Nats' second baseman in the second inning of this afternoon's game and the Nats' 25-year-old infielder later left the game with what was described by the Nationals as a "sore right wrist."
"Danny's going to be all right," the Nats' skipper told reporters after the Nationals' 9-0 loss to their NL East rivals. The Braves swept the three-game set, sending the Nationals out on the road for their trip to Miami and New York with a 7-5 record after twelve games. "Just a tough day," Johnson said, "but you're never as bad as you look when you lose, you're never as good as you look when you win."
Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez got hit hard and struggled with his command in the series finale, allowing seven hits (two home runs) and seven runs total, all earned, in just 5.0 innings pitched in which he threw 98 pitches, 58 of them for strikes. Davey Johnson chalked some of his pitcher's struggles up to the team he was facing, but said his starter had issues with his command all afternoon. "It's a good-hitting lineup," Johnson said, "You just make bad pitches, you're going to get hit. He threw a lot of pitches early. You just can't do that."
"[Gio] was leaving the ball up," the Nationals' manager explained, "When he's at his best he's using his fastball down on the knees with his good curve ball and changeup. He was missing up all day and that's where he got hurt, when the ball is belt-high right over the middle. Good-hitting lineup will do that."
"You keep missing," Johnson said of Gonzalez's command issues, "They get to see a lot of pitches, it's easier to time a guy. The more pitches they see, it's a lot easier when you leave them right there, to get some wood on it."
The three-game sweep by the Braves left Atlanta 11-1 so far this season. Asked if he took anything away from the three-game set with the NL East's current first place team, the manager of the defending NL East Champions said it was still too early in the season to draw any conclusions. "It's just early," Johnson said, "Things happen for the best, you know. There was a difference in the first two ballgames. We should have won the first one and we were right there in the second one, we just got waffled today, but I don't put too much stock in it."
"Some guys are starting to swing the bat a little bit better," Johnson said when asked for any positives he could take away from the weekend. "We're not quite where we need to be: bullpen, pitching, the whole nine yards. It's a whole lot of battles to win this war. And one series doesn't -- it's sometimes just a wakeup call."