Chris Johnson’s knees buckled on the Stras breaking ball, and then looked back at the dugout and said “damn”.
Everyone will focus on the late inning boondogle in game one of nineteen with the Braves, but the bigger story has to do with the first seven innings. Leave it to the wily manager to make the shrewdest move of the season so far. He set the Nationals starting rotation to go 1, 2, 3 versus the Braves. Think about that for a second…
In order for you to believe that Detweiler is a number 1, you need to forget what you think you know, and tell me what you see when you watch the Nats pitching staff. If you are honest about what you see, you will notice the best starting pitcher for the Nats over the last five months has been Ross Detweiler. To be fair, they did not play any real games during four and a half of those months, but work with me. When the Nats needed a good start to stay alive against the Cardinals it was Det, and when the Nats faced the Reds, it was Det who came through. By counting out the days on the pitching rotation on the schedule, Davey ensured game one against the Braves was Detweiler and not Haren. Oh, sure he gave the line about Haren being the veteran and deserving #4, but I think we now see what he was up to.
It’s looks like it. But official attendance last night was only 24,785, which means there were plenty of empty seats.
On Wednesday, the official attendance was announced at 24,586. On Tuesday, 24,412. That’s some pretty startling consistency. So consistent, in fact, it sounds completely made up.
But this is not the space for conspiracy theories. Assuming the numbers are correct, how are the Nats doing attendance-wise six home games into the season?
Last season, the Nationals hosted the Houston Astros for their second home series of the season and it too was a mid-week series. Attendance was 16,245, 17,886, 14,250, and 18,425. Compared to the the recently completed series against the White Sox, the Nats have seen a pretty dramatic increase in attendance, which was expected considering they won 98 games last season.
Last season, the Nationals averaged just over 30,000 people a game, good for 14th in Major League Baseball. So far, they’re on pace for an increase, but don’t expect a sell-out streak to start anytime soon.
Davey Johnson opted to use Rafael Soriano last night, the third night in a row, to protect a three run lead in the top of the ninth. Simple question: why in the world is Davey using his best reliever in such a low-leverage situation? Soriano is now unavailable tonight in a critical game against the team’s biggest rival. If the Nats are nursing a one run lead tonight in the ninth-inning, and their best reliever is unavailable, it will be Davey’s fault. Managers need to stop being so wedded to the specifics of the save rule and manage their bullpens in the best interest of the entire team. Davey should have opted for another reliever last night, and saved Soriano for tonight’s critical game. -Justin