Ross Ohlendorf earned his third win of the year tonight to improve to (3-0), but he tired quickly toward the end of his outing for the second time since coming off a DL stint necessitated by what was described as right shoulder inflammation by the Washington Nationals. Ohlendorf threw 4 1/3 IP on 91 pitches last time out and afterwards Davey Johnson told reporters that he probably should have held the 31-year-old right-hander to around 80 pitches. Tonight in D.C., the Nats' manager was prepared in case the same thing happened again.
"He's done that now several times," Johnson said in tonight's post game press conference following the 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins. "I was kind of ready for it with [Tanner] Roark. [Ohlendorf] just kind of ran out of gas, like he did before. But you never know with him because sometimes he puts a lot on it, other times it's more like he's changing up off his fastball, but when he takes 10 mph off it, it gets to scare me a little bit." MLB.com's Gameday had each of Ohlendorf's four pitches in the sixth inning listed as changeups though the Nats' skipper wasn't sure if the pitcher was mixing up speeds or worn out. Johnson liked what he saw in the first five innings, however.
"He was great," the Nats' manager said, "Made pitches. Threw some good breaking balls. Big difference between his breaking balls, though some of the locations I wasn't real keen on, but he kept us right in there. We didn't score a whole lot." The Nationals scored two runs in the first on an RBI groundout by Jayson Werth and a two-out RBI single by Ian Desmond, then held on through eight innings with the bullpen shutting the Marlins down after Christian Yelich cut the Nats' lead in half with his sixth inning home run. Davey Johnson went to his pen right away after Yelich's blast landed in Washington's bullpen in right field.
"I had Roark warming up while we were hitting, in the bottom of the fifth," he explained, " but I was hoping I could get through that inning." The fact that Ohlendorf couldn't and seemed to tire again after 78 pitches, had Johnson thinking, he admitted after the game, of giving Roark an opportunity to start next time this spot in the rotation comes around.
"That's probably where we're going to go," he said tonight, "but I'll make that decision probably tomorrow."
The Nationals' 70-year-old skipper said that he's not going to go ahead with another much-discussed move that fans in the nation's capital would apparently like to see. Rafael Soriano is going to remain in the closer's role in spite of his recent struggles and in spite of how strong Tyler Clippard's been recently and was again tonight. As it often does, the toughest part of the Marlins' lineup came up in the eighth tonight with Tyler Clippard on the mound against Yelich, Donovan Solano and Miami's big threat, Giancarlo Stanton.
"Clippard had the heavy load that one," Johnson said after his 28-year-old right-hander retired the Marlins in order in a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 inning that ended with Clippard throwing three straight fastballs by Stanton to get a swinging K. It was nothing new from Clippard, Johnson said. "He's been doing it all year. He's been doing it ever since I've been here."
Johnson was asked if he'd considered going to back to Clippard for the six-out save after a quick eighth inning. "No," the Nationals' manager said. "Not making that change. Leave that for somebody else."
As for the 12-pitch ninth Rafael Soriano threw for his 34th save of the season? Johnson said he wasn't took happy with the 0-1 slider the Nats' closer left up for Justin Ruggiano's two-out single, though the 1-2 slider he threw to Logan Morrison for a called strike three in the first AB was sharp.
"He hung one," Johnson said, "and the one he threw to Ruggiano, I didn't see it from the screen, but it didn't look like a good one from where I'm looking." It might not have been pretty, or as efficient as Storen and Clippard's innings, but Soriano got the job done. And some of the sliders looked better than they have recently. "That's been a big pitch for him," Johnson said. "We made it through, so."
So the Nationals are 66-65 and with the Reds losing tonight, they're 7.0 games out of the race for the second Wild Card spot...
• AUDIO: Nats Nightly:
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