Following last night's loss, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson said he was going to make some changes to the lineup. The Nats' skipper gave Tyler Moore a start at first today and in a day game after a night game had Jhonatan Solano behind the plate. After their fourth-straight loss this afternoon, 4-2 to St. Louis, and their sixth-straight at home in back-to-back series sweeps at the hands of the Atlanta Braves and Cardinals, the 70-year-old veteran in his 17th season on the bench said it was time to make some more dramatic changes.
"It's real frustrating," Johnson said, "The lineup, I'm going to have to juggle it up and do a few things tomorrow, change the mindset."
The first move, the Nationals' manager explained, will be to get Steve Lombardozzi in the lineup. "Get Lombo in the lineup, get him hitting at the top of the order," Johnson said, "Move [Jayson] Werth around. He seems to be in a little -- he said some things to me after the ballgame. So, just shake some things up a little bit."
Asked if Lombardozzi would be taking over at second for Danny Espinosa, the skipper said, "Uh, no. Probably not. But that's for another day."
The Cards' official Twitter account mentioned yesterday that a win in the series finale today would allow St. Louis to do something they hadn't done to the Expos/Nationals franchise since 1969:
Cardinals go for history tomorrow.Have not swept the Nationals/Expos in a three-game road series since Sept. 26-28, 1969 in Montreal.— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 24, 2013
When a reporter mentioned that to Johnson he joked, "Did you have to bring that up?" The Nats' manager was less concerned with the franchise's history than the present state of the team, however. "I'm more concerned about how everybody's playing," Johnson said, "we're just not doing things we're capable of doing right now. It will change, but we're going to have to jumble things up a little bit. Try to light a fire."
"It's frustrating," the Nationals' skipper reiterated, "We're just not doing the things we're capable of doing. Guys are trying to do too much. [Ian Desmond] looked like he was trying to hit the ball to the light tower. Little things where guys are trying to create something that's not there yet, so, it's just one of those things."
The Nationals threatened several times late in today's game. but fell short in the series finale. A wasted opportunity in the seventh was particularly hard to take. After one-out singles by Anthony Rendon and Jhonatan Solano, Johnson hit for Stephen Strasburg with Steve Lombardozzi, only to have the usually reliable contact-hitter swing and miss on a high fastball with Solano running for second. Cards' catcher Yadier Molina threw Solano out easily and a first and third, one-out threat was defused. Johnson said he had confidence that Lombardozzi would connect. "He hits a lot of ground balls," Johnson said, "He usually makes contact, just microcosm, he was a little more aggressive, the ball's up, running off the plate and he swings at it."
Johnson said he's not concerned about his team's intensity level, but more about the little things.
"I thought everybody was up and loose," Johnson said, "ready to go, but just couldn't get'em. We hit some balls hard and they made great plays. Those are momentum shifts. They can hit a little ball soft and it drops in. It's just, you try to change that momentum, make something happen and it just doesn't work. But there's always tomorrow."