With last night's win, the Washington Nationals improved to 67-65, going two games over .500 for the first time since July 11th. The 4-3 win was the Nats' seventh in their last 10 and their 13th in their last 18. The division was decided a long time ago. The Nats are 13.0 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, but just 7.0 games out of the second Wild Card spot now, with the 75-59 Cincinnati Reds currently holding onto the second of two WC spots. They're 1.0 game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, the one team between them and the Reds in the Wild Card race, who've lost six of their last 10.
With the odds of the Nationals falling short of their goal of returning to the postseason again after breaking a 79-year drought for D.C.-based ballclubs in 2012 better than the odds of them making it back, Davey Johnson was asked in an interview yesterday whether he had an itch to come back for one more run next season. The 70-year-old skipper reiterated when he spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies, that this was it for him, though it was not likely the last job in baseball for the Nationals' manager.
"You know, I love the game of baseball," Johnson said, "and I'll be doing something with some baseball team somewhere. And it's never mattered to me whether it was college ball or the minor leagues, doing the World Cups, doing the Olympics. I love baseball. I love the Nationals organization. I think they've done a great job. And I think that it's time for them to move forward, get a young energetic young man in there.
"And I like where the organization is. I think it's going to be in an even stronger position next year. I think a lot of our young pitchers are going to be knocking on the door up here, young starters. We've got some really capable left-handed starters that are coming. I like where the organization is at. They've got pretty good depth in outfield and infield and behind the plate, so it's a good time for me to ride off into the sunset."
Johnson isn't ready to ride off just yet, however. He still isn't writing off the possibility of the Nationals making a run over the last month of the 2013 campaign. But is it realistic? "I like where we're at guys," Johnson explained, "I mean, the offense? I really like the lineup I'm putting out there. I think it kind of feeds off everybody in the lineup. I think the pitching is coming around a little bit better. The bullpen, in a couple more days we'll have a little more balanced left-handed side of the bullpen, which is going to be important. That's one of the things that I think has hurt us this year, not having a strong left side of the bullpen."
"With 31 games left," one of the Junkies asked, "what's the realistic number you have to put up?"
"I say we've got to win 90," Johnson said. "That's the number I've been shooting for. And so all we have to do it get on a little win streak."
"You just have to go 25-6."
"That's no big deal," the Nats' skipper said, "I'm sure we've done that in the past..."
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- Game 132 WPA: Don't walk someone in front of Desmond. Nats 4, Fish 3
- Nationals 4-3 Over Marlins: Ian Desmond Takes IBB Personally
- Nationals vs Marlins: In-Game Update - Nats Take 1-0 Lead Before Rain Delay In Second