|Photo by USA Today|
Nationals manager Davey Johnson was not his usual, talkative self after Washington's 2-0 loss to the Orioles on Thursday night. He generally holds court and talks extensively about any topic, any question, regardless of the outcome.
But Johnson was clearly upset after the team's seventh shutout of the season and walked away from reporters after just four questions. He tried to leave after two.
With the season one-third of the way over, Johnson was asked whether he will shake things up with an underperforming team and first place Atlanta up next. He was honest.
"We'll probably make some changes," he said. "But that's for another day."
Johnson and the Nationals have a good chance of having Bryce Harper back in the lineup for Friday's game. If that possibility comes true, their lineup will instantly improve. But what other adjustments could Johnson make?
The Nats' skipper said Thursday afternoon he wanted to see where Danny Espinosa was with his right wrist before making any decisions at second base. Espinosa said after Thursday's game the clicking in his wrist has gone away when he swings. But health may not be the only consideration, as Espinosa is hitting .162 through 41 games this season.
Another area Johnson could do some renovating is in the outfield. If Harper comes back, he will claim one of the corner spots. The other corner, however, could be an area for change.
Jayson Werth is getting closer, but may not be ready for this upcoming series in Atlanta. If he needs to get through a few more games without the veteran, maybe Johnson tries something new with Werth's replacement.
Changes may be inevitable, at some point Johnson and the Nats will need to try something. But if you ask the players, they believe they are closer than it looks. They say things can and will turn if they get back to basics and play up to their collective potential.
"What are you going to change? We have a good team," Ian Desmond said. "Some approaches, things like that, need to change, maybe. I don't know. We just need to play better. We're capable of playing better and it's time to go."