Dusty Baker rolled out a Sunday lineup (sorry for saying that, Chris Heisey, Michael A. Taylor and Jose Lobaton) on Saturday afternoon. He talked before what ended up a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies about why he sat a few of the Washington Nationals’ regulars for the second of three with the Phillies in D.C.
First, and most importantly, there were no injury issues that led to Adam Eaton, Jayson Werth and Matt Wieters all being out of the lineup.
“No, no injury concerns,” Baker said. “Wieters only rested one day. Eaton hadn’t rested any and Werth hadn’t rested any and we’ve got a long year. Werth has been busting it ever since Spring Training, both of them have, and so they didn’t want it, but I gave it to them.”
Baker added that it didn’t have anything to do with the opposing pitcher the Nationals were facing or anything else but just trying to get some players rest and others at bats as he attempts to keep everyone sharp.
As he explained further, he was, as he often does, following advice that Hank Aaron gave him for getting the most out of players.
“Hank Aaron told me how to stay healthy and how to keep guys healthy and you average two days off a month and that’s 150 games,” Baker explained.
“If you can go 150 games — there’s twelve games that you’re doing nothing more than occupying ink on the lineup card, emotionally, mentally and physically. So that’s what I’ve tried to do to kind of keep my guys healthy.
“Whether you give them four off in June or three off in August, you hope to get them to 150 games and in Jayson Werth’s case, probably more like [140-145].”
Plus, there’s tomorrow’s off day to consider. And the fact that the Nationals are facing a right-hander today in the Phillies’ Jared Eickhoff.
“It had more to do with [Friday], the time of the game and then Eickhoff, wanting more lefties against him tomorrow,” Baker said.
“Then we have a day off the day after that, so whoever I give tomorrow off will have two days off, whoever I think needs that, and I didn’t want to give Werth and I didn’t want to give Eaton two days off in a row, so we kind of looked at the schedule today, tomorrow and the next day who you’re facing.”