The Washington Post

Davey Johnson really wants to finish 300 games above .500 for his career

(John Bazemore / AP)

The Nationals still do not have an official starter for Sunday’s season finale, and the reason, oddly, has to do with Manager Davey Johnsons’ career record.

When asked whether Gio Gonzalez or Tanner Roark would start Sunday, Johnson replied, “That depends on Gio.” He paused and pursed his lips, as if trying to decide if he should continue with his rationale. And then he continued.

Johnson will enter tonight’s game with a 1,370-1,070 career record as a manager. In St. Louis, he said, he told his players he wanted to finish his career 300 games above .500. If the Nationals go 1-1 in the first two games, Johnson said, he would want Gonzalez to start, giving himself the best chance to finish 300 games above .500.

“Some guys have 20 stolen bases, 20 homers,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘300 sounds like a good number. Maybe we can get that.’ So I said to some of the guys, ‘Can we win a couple games?’ Gio knows it. If we win a couple, he’ll go home. If we go 1-1, he’ll take the ball. It’s kind of complicated and stupid.”

Even after that explanation, Johnson changed course and said  Roark, the rookie right-hander with a 7-1 record, would “probably” start for the Nationals on Sunday. Johnson insisted he was not consumed by his overall record. “I don’t care,” he said. “Just throwing my two cents in.” But he sure seemed to care.

“What’s the difference between 299 and 301? It was just something I threw out there. My motivation speech – ‘Do something for me, fellas!’ It’s that time of year when you accommodate everybody. I try to accommodate everybody all year. This is a little accommodation for me.”

It would seemingly make sense for the Nationals to start Gonzalez regardless. He stands 4 2/3 innings and eight strikeouts away from reaching 200 in both categories. While it would be Roark’s turn in the rotation, Gonzalez could pitch on normal rest because of yesterday’s off day.

In any event, however many wins above .500 he is, Johnson’s career will end after this weekend series in Arizona. He said he hasn’t been feeling any extra emotion since the Nationals’ ceremony for him last weekend at Nationals Park.

“Not a whole lot,” Johnson said. “It’s just the finality of it all kind of sunk in. It sunk in when I saw a video of me playing in Japan. I enjoy every day for what it brings. It’s time to hang it up, see my grandkids, take on another challenge. Who knows?”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Border collies: A 'mouse trap' for geese on the National Mall
Play Videos
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
What you need to know about Planned Parenthood
Play Videos
How to save and spend money at college
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Europe's migrant crisis, explained
Next Story
Adam Kilgore · September 27, 2013