One of the most compelling subplots over the next weeks and months will be how Davey Johnson shapes the team in his mold. There will not be a drastic overhaul – it would be hard to make wholesale changes to any baseball team, especially one with a winning record, at the end of June. But, Johnson promised, there will be changes.
“A lot of it, I’m going to just put my little spice on it,” he said. “There’s some changes I would like to make. I don’t really want to go into that right now – it’s counterproductive. There’s definitely some things I would like to have a little different.”
One change will be a more consistent batting order. Johnson stuck with the same order tonight as yesterday, even after a loss in which the Nats scored three runs on six hits.
“If it’s good enough for one right-hander, it’s good enough for another right-hander,” Johnson said. “I don’t want them thinking, just because we lose the ballgame I didn’t have any faith in the lineup. I had a lot of reasons for putting that lineup together. When I put a lineup together tomorrow, there may be other reasons. Maybe I want to rest a guy. Maybe a guy’s got a nagging injury.”
Manager Jim Riggleman toggled between leadoff hitters, batting Jayson Werth first against lefties and Roger Bernadina first against right-handers. Johnson thinks Bernadina – who in his career has hit .241/.306/.357 against lefties – can play against left-handed starters, too.
“Bernadina, I like what I’m seeing,” Johnson said. “I like his approach. I’m not looking at him so much as a platoon player. I’m looking for him to play against left-handers for me.
One change that will definitely come, it seems, will be the pitcher batting eighth. Riggleman had moved the pitcher to the eighth spot and kept him there for the final 11 games before his resignation.
“I don’t like it,” Johnson said. “I’ve never used it. I’m not saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But it’s going to be kind of hard to teach that one.”