“I love Sean Burnett,” Johnson said. “He’s a heck of a pitcher. The starters have been so outstanding, and we’ve been in every ballgame. Guys take it late, we get close to [Tyler] Clippard, my closer. There’s going to plenty of work. It’s really early.”
Johnson has frequently warmed up Burnett, only to leave him in the bullpen and choose a different match-up. As the Nationals’ starting rotation has delivered six or seven innings on a nightly basis, Burnett’s innings have dried up. Burnett is on pace throw only 40 innings this year, but Johnson is confident his usage will increase and work itself out.
“When you’re getting quality starts from all the starters, a lot of times that narrows down the innings from the bullpen,” Johnson said. “There’s plenty of games left. He’ll get plenty of work.”
This may be the right series to increase Burnett’s workload. The Reds’ two best power threats, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, are both left-handed, and so Johnson could rely on both Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny.