US Presswire photo
Rick Ankiel slides in safely with the go-ahead run in the eighth.
Scraping together the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth on a hit batter, two walks, a double steal, a throwing error and an opposite-field single by his pinch-hitting backup catcher? Not exactly a page out of "Davey Johnson's Guide to Managing."
"I love to score runs," he said from his office at Nationals Park following Saturday night's 4-3 win over the Pirates, hours after a 5-3 loss in the opener of a doubleheader. "I'm kind of an offensive manager, and it's ... I'm having to open up a new playbook, and it's not what I like: to have to steal and hope they throw it away and get a run across. We've got too many good hitters in that other room."
Problem is, several of those "good" hitters in the Nationals clubhouse simply aren't hitting right now. Ryan Zimmerman is sporting a .219 average (the second-lowest it's ever been more than 100 at-bats into a big-league season). Jayson Werth is hitting .224 and striking out at an alarming rate (enough to convince a crowd of 39,638 Saturday night to boo the $126 million right fielder with gusto). Ian Desmond