Though he said, "Yeah," he did of course have concerns about the Washington Nationals' offense after they were shut down by Kyle Lohse tonight in a 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the nation's capital, Davey Johnson told reporters after the game, "I don't have any answers."
"[Kyle] Lohse pitched a good ballgame," the Nats' 70-year-old skipper said after the Nats fell to 42-42 overall with their second straight loss at home. "He was using both sides of the plate and a he had little breaking ball, but we just kind of... nothing. Couldn't get nothing going." The Nationals got a little something going in the second when Adam LaRoche walked and Ian Desmond singled with one down, but Lohse escaped that jam and threw seven-pitch innings in three of his first four scoreless frames.
Lohse retired ten Nationals in a row after Desmond's one-out single in the first, then gave up back-to-back two-out singles in the fifth before he got Denard Span looking with a high full-count change that was called strike three on an indignant Nats' outfielder. Anthony Rendon would provide all the offense for the Nationals tonight when he hit his second major league home run to left on a first pitch curve from Lohse in the seventh, but that was the only run the Nationals scored in support of Ross Detwiler's effort on the mound.
"[Ross Detwiler] was really using all his pitches the first couple of innings and he was outstanding," Davey Johnson said. "Threw some great curve balls, and I think he lost the feel of it later in the game. He left some curve balls up and gave up some hits on some kind of hanging curve balls. But he pitched all right for coming back. I thought he had good stuff, he just didn't make the pitches when he needed to."
Detwiler got three ground ball outs in a quick first, then struck out the side in the second, getting each strikeout with his breaking ball. Norichika Aoki singled in the third, but was stranded. Back-to-back grounders to start the fourth were followed by a double play and a weak groundout. Sean Halton hit Detwiler's slider for a leadoff double in the fifth, Logan Schafer singled on a first-pitch fastball and one succesful sac bunt later Norichika Aoki singled to center on a 1-1 heater from Detwiler to drive the first two runs of the game in.
In the sixth, Bryce Harper dropped a line drive hit right at him by Aramis Ramirez, Jonathan Lucroy singled to center, and two outs later, Detwiler threw a 1-2 fastball over the plate to Logan Schafer, whose two-run triple made it a 4-0 game. Asked about the missed catch by Harper in the outfield, Davey Johnson said he didn't know what happened. "I don't know. It was hit pretty hard. It could have been knuckling. It could have been anything. You never know."
He was impressed with Detwiler though and encouraged by the 27-year-old left-hander's first few innings of work. "I was really encouraged," Johnson told reporters. "He had some good hitters scratching their head. He didn't use the changeup as much. He used the curve ball. Usually his offspeed pitch is his change. But I thought he was throwing the heck out of the ball, and when he needed a breaking ball to the left-hander [Logan Schafer] he just left the fastball out over the plate."
The Nats' lack of success at the plate is apparently getting to the Nationals' skipper. "It's putting me in the looney bin," Johnson said. But he wasn't sure how to explain it. "It looks like we're getting good at bats," he said, "we're just not getting it done. I don't really have any answers." The manager said he looked forward to getting back on the field tomorrow morning in the 11:00 am 4th of July series finale.
"I'm glad we're coming back early in the morning to get this taste out of our mouths," Johnson said, "I'm happy about that."
• AUDIO: Nats Nightly = District Sports Page + Federal Baseball w/ Doghouse tonight: