Michael Wilbon says Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson should have known better


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

A day game, a new attempt at reaching rock bottom, a double-digit divisional deficit and, sure enough, the Nats were a topic on “Pardon the Interruption” again Wednesday evening.

“Wilbon, I know you delight in the Nats’ misery,” Tony Kornheiser said, after going over several of the team’s latest woes.

“No, I don’t Tony,” Wilbon countered.

“Yes, you do,” Kornheiser countered back.

The rest of their exchange follows. Listen to it here. And if you think this is harsher criticism from former WaPo sports columnists than Rizzo and Johnson have received from current WaPo sports columnists, you wouldn’t be alone. Eric Fingerhut has a piece questioning our paper’s focus on the Drew Storen demotion, vis-a-vis the Strasburg Shutdown.

Wilbon: The Nats seemed to be very easy to root for until they pronounced themselves the 1927 Yankees, until they pronounced themselves – all winter and into spring – as the team to beat.

Kornheiser: At the top. Not all the players. At the top. GM Mike Rizzo and Manager Davey Johnson.

Wilbon: Well, who needs to be more accountable than those two guys? Guys who should know better. Guys who’ve been around and around the block in Major League Baseball. They know their injuries. They know guys slump. They know there are people who had career years last year, who can’t repeat those years. And they took none of that into account? All they did was rush out and say we’re the team to beat, World Series or Bust, with no pedigree, having choked their brains out against the Cardinals, and they come back and say, YEAH, IT’S US.

Kornheiser: They won 98 games last year; they probably can’t believe what’s happening. Mike Rizzo made two big deals over the winter; he brought in Denard Span from Minnesota to be his leadoff hitter and center fielder, now dropped him to seventh in the lineup, he’s hitting in the low .200s. Brought in Dan Haren, who was a good pitcher at one time. He’s now 5-11 with a 5.49 ERA. He’s gives up home runs in the first two and three innings all the time. Guys had great years last year; not having great years this year.

Wilbon: Strasburg, speaking of that. Although, I think he’s pitching well. ERA, strikeouts, hits.

Kornheiser: Do you think shutting him down, because they thought they’d be in this every single year, has come back to bite them?

Wilbon: I told you last year, in real time: You can space these starts out, you can keep to your innings-pitched judgment. I understand that. But you don’t have to just sort of pitch him every fifth day, you can be creative. They weren’t that.

Kornheiser: Strasburg, who has Cy Young stuff this year – people don’t hit against him, he strikes people out, he’s got a great ERA – he’s 5-9. We’re going into August. He’s had 29 starts, he’s got five wins.

Wilbon: You’re about the only person in this city who roots for this team who said it’s not good to go out there and say, ‘We’re the ’27 Yanks.’ How you feel now?

Kornheiser: It’s not. It is not good. It is not good.

Wilbon: They didn’t listen to you, either.

(Via @J_D_P)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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