Davey Johnson On Nationals' Taylor Jordan: "I Don't Think He Knows How Good His Stuff Is Yet."

Greg Fiume

Taylor Jordan got knocked around a bit in the second inning of last night's win over the Philadelphia Phillies, but the Washington Nationals' starter stuck around and kept the Nats in the game long enough for them to mount a comeback and get a win.

Taylor Jordan's night started with an error. Washington's 24-year-old right-hander gave up a line drive to right by Philadelphia Phillies' leadoff man Jimmy Rollins. Jayson Werth charged it, but had the ball bounce off his glove and fall to the grass, putting the leadoff man on against the Nationals' rookie starter. The first two of 10 ground ball outs Jordan would record last night followed with Michael Young grounding into a force at second and Chase Utley grounding into an inning-ending 6-4-3.

"His key is keeping the ball down. When he gets the ball up, sometimes he gets the ball up and tries to throw harder..." - Davey Johnson on Taylor Jordan

Jordan's 12-pitch first was followed by a 28-pitch second, however, during which the visiting Phillies sent nine players to the plate and collected five hits and four runs, two on a two-run home run by Darin Ruf, who took a first-pitch fastball from the Nats' '09 9th Round pick to left for just the fourth home run Jordan's surrendered in 136 innings pitched between High-A, Double-A and the majors this season.

"Second inning, he was supposed to go away with a fastball to Ruf," Davey Johnson explained after the Nationals came back from the 4-0 deficit and eventually won 8-5 for their second straight win over the Phillies. "He left it up and over the middle half," Johnson said, "and his key is keeping the ball down. When he gets the ball up, sometimes he gets the ball up and tries to throw harder and [Steve McCatty] tells him, 'Just keep the ball down.' You know, he's got great sink. And I was concerned about him running out of gas like he did before, but he hung in there and gave us three strong innings and set it up for [Tanner] Roark."

After Jimmy Rollins' single in the second drove in the Phillies' fourth run of the inning, Taylor retired 10 of the next 13 batters he faced in three scoreless innings, ending his eighth start for the Nationals after 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 77 P, 54 S, 10/1 GO/FO. On the year, the right-hander hander is (1-3), with a 4.14 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 3 HRs allowed (0.59 HR/9), eight walks issued (1.58 BB/9) and 26 Ks (5.12 K/9) collected in 45 2/3 IP. Jordan was replaced on the mound, as Davey Johnson mentioned, by 26-year-old right-hander Tanner Roark, who retired the Phillies in order in 2.0 scoreless innings of work and eventually earned the win for his efforts.

"The way he's throwing, if [Ross] Ohlendorf didn't come back, [Tanner Roark] would be in line for that fifth starter." - Davey Johnson on Nats' rotation plans

"Roark was outstanding," the Nats' skipper said, "I think he just faced six hitters."

"12 pitches," a reporter said.

"Outstanding. But the way he's throwing, if [Ross] Ohlendorf didn't come back, [Roark] would be in line for that fifth starter."

Ohlendorf, who was placed on the DL with "right shoulder inflammation" after an abbreviated outing in Detroit on July 31st, made a rehab start for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs last night, giving up five hits and one run in 3.0 innings of work in which he threw 63 pitches, 40 of them for strikes. Davey Johnson said after the Nationals' win over the Phillies, that with Ohlendorf likely in need of some more work, Taylor Jordan, who's approaching his innings limit in his first year back from Tommy John, will get at least one more start.

"He'll get another start,' Johnson said, "Most definitely. No.1, Ohlendorf, I got the report, I think in the second inning, that he had 64 pitches in three innings. That's over 20 [pitches an inning], so he's not where he needs to be, so he needs at least one more [rehab] start."

As for Jordan, the Nationals' manager likes what he's seen, even if the relatively inexperienced pitcher hasn't quite figured out just how good he really is yet. "I like all his pitches," Johnson told reporters, "and he had a good slider tonight. I don't think he knows how good his stuff is yet. He relies a lot on the catcher about where to go to and he doesn't think about the count. Sometimes he goes to throw hard instead of just locate with that good sink and when he gets in that good rhythm... "

"He's got a great arsenal," Johnson concluded. "I really like his weapons."

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