Knorr Skippers Nats To A Win Behind Ian Krol, Lights A Fire Under The Club – Winning 4 of 5
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In 2011,Davey Johnson was a welcome breath of fresh air.
Jim Riggleman was just kind of there, a place holder manager, but at the time there was no reason to fire him.
There were concerns at times over Jim Riggleman “losing the clubhouse,” but that is standard the-team-isn’t-playing-great jargon. When Riggleman walked out, things changed greatly.
Davey Johnson made it his mission to get a slumping Jayson Werth going and to figure out why it was that Ian Desmond, who had flashed power in the past, wasn’t able to put any baseballs into the seats.
Davey Johnson was not afraid to point out when a pitcher wasn’t doing his job, either.
Things Haven’t Been As Rosy In 2013 For Davey Johnson
Davey Johnson was right to make Jordan Zimmermann responsible for not battling the way he should have.
If someone doesn’t tell a young pitcher when he needs to get it together, what is the point of the manager?
In 2012, there was hardly a time when those types of comments were necessary.
The Nationals were simply firing on all cylinders and finding ways to win.
What is it with 2013, though? On May 11th 2013, Stephen Strasburg was cruising through his start against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park.
When Ryan Zimmerman made a throwing error behind him, he came undone. It was evident that the error displeased Strasburg and changed the course of the game, which it should not have.
The Nationals lost that game 8-2 and the criticism was everywhere, which was completely appropriate. Did Davey Johnson say something to Strasburg?
Most likely, but no one knew what it was. It has been quite evident, though that someone said something and in this writer’s opinion it was a teammate, not the manager.
Ever since then, Strasburg has buckled down when his defense makes a mistake or when an umpire makes a questionable call. He gets mad, but does it the right way.
His pitches take on a certain kind of annoyed personality and they are mean to hitters. Very mean. That is the way it should be.
On the Thursday day game, July 25th the Nationals were up 7-3 going into the 9th inning and trying to close out their first win after the all-star break and avoid losing their 7th in a row.
The smart decision would be to put in your dominant closer.
Considering Davey Johnson had been thrown out of the game because the umpires felt like being part of the show, that was Randy Knorr’s decision to make and that is just what he did.
It has been very obvious for some time that Rafael Soriano completely changes his approach when the game is not a save situation.
Don’t know the difference? Watch him in a save situation, he takes his time, leans toward home plate, gets the perfect grip on his pitch, then throws with accuracy, precision, and confidence.
A game like Thursday where he doesn’t get a save, he gets the ball, gathers himself and then tosses it.
He doesn’t care. “That last one was a ball, whatever. Oh, screamer double. Cool.”
We live in an era where relievers have been dubbed “closer” because they can get 3 outs in the 9th inning while only being up by 3 or less runs and allowing as few as possible. It is a dumb stat, don’t pretend it isn’t.
Davey Johnson seems to have become complacent with this type of nonsense.
After a game in which Dan Haren got lit up, Davey Johnson simply told the media regarding his right hander: “eh, he’ll be alright.” That is not what the fans wanted to hear.
To be fair, what is he going to do? He can’t throw Haren under the bus publicly because he has a bad case of the suck.
The manager has to work with the players he has and frankly Haren hasn’t been a good player to have. When your big name closer isn’t giving his all to help end a 6 game skid, what is he going to do?
He can’t make Haren stop giving up bombs, or make Soriano try. This is a problem, because it has the appearance that Davey Johnson has given up.
Comments to D.C. sports radio about “cutting his wrists” or where he asked Rizzo to fire him instead of Rick Eckstein are not things a team wants their manager to think.
If that were your parents talking to your teacher about how you are struggling in math, how would that make you feel?
Imagine the effect that has on the whole team, would you have confidence to fight back when your team has lost the lead?
In that moment with Soriano on the hill on Thursday, having considered all these problems, setbacks, and unrelenting apathy, the bench coach Randy Knorr had seen enough.
That is the extreme this problem has gone to; a bench coach has seen enough.
Randy Knorr walked out of the dugout when the Nationals high dollar closer couldn’t have cared less and took him out of the game after 1/3 of an inning.
It was the most backbone showed by a Nationals managerial staff member all season.
Then, after the game Knorr simply said “if he [Soriano] doesn’t feel like shutting it down, I’ll get someone else.” His someone else turned out to be a young left hander who started the season at AA Harrisburg (Ian Krol).
If that doesn’t send a message, I don’t know what does. The move was something the Nationals had been missing; the fire inside to take a risk, the bold move to find where those wild things are.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Nationals Correspondent’ Matthew Davila for preparing today’s featured article. Matthew is a Pro bono sports writer for Citizens of Natstown.
Mattew is a huge Nats fan, also a Caps fan, plus is a lover of beer & running. He Hates Comcast, He doesn’t like ESPN either.
Matthew resides in Alexandria, VA.
You can follow Matthew on Twitter. Follow @sodapop6548
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Posted on July 29, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged 2012 manager of the year, @citsofnatstown, @sodapop6548 on twitter, Atlanta Braves, bryce harper, davey johnson, harrisburg senators, ian desmond, jim riggleman, jordan zimmermann, Mike Rizzo, Nartionals, new york mets, rafael soriano, ryan zimmerman, stephen strasburg, www.citizensofnatstown.com. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.