Quick Links

Rizzo on Johnson and the 'Nationals way'

603650.jpg

Rizzo on Johnson and the 'Nationals way'

At 69 years of age, Nationals manger Davey Johnson is the oldest skipper in the majors. His assuming of the interim job last season was a surprise not only because of his age, he had also been out of the dugout for over a decade. Given these facts, it is unlikely Johnson would profile as a progressive, or even innovative, baseball manager. But in a recent interview with FanGraphs.com, general manager Mike Rizzo stated he thinks Davey is as creative as any of his peers.

Davey is less old-school than you might think. He is a modern-thinking manager, even though his age may not convey that. Hes very open-minded, Rizzo said.

He was using data before data was in vogue. He was using data when he was a rookie player. When Davey was thinking about his raises as a young major-league player he brought out that his on-base percentage was better than that of Player X, who was making X. Hes used numbers for a long time. As you may know, he was a mathematics major, so hes into numbers and he uses them. He always has.

Rizzo told FanGraphs Johnson is one of the best baseball guys he has ever been around. Rizzo clearly respects Johnsons opinion and has been proven right in hindsight. With a series sweep in Boston over the weekend, Johnson now holds a 35-23 record with the team this season and a .532 winning percentage overall in his 143 games as Nationals manager.

But Johnsons effect doesnt stop at the big league level, as Rizzo will tell you, the Nats GM says Daveys influence is felt top to bottom. The former Orioles second baseman and manager, part of the Oriole Way, has brought a similar philosophy to Washington.

We employ the Nationals Way, if you will the way that we like to see things done. And the most important thing there is being consistent, from the Dominican Summer League teams to the major leagues. We like to be all-encompassing and do things the same way at each and every level of our system. That way, when the players do get to Washington, they know the way Davey Johnson wants it to be done.

Rizzo makes it sound almost like the New Jersey Devils of hockey who teach players a specific system to carry over when they make the top club. To their credit, the Nationals have seen great success from their Triple-A promotions. Both Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock showed enough last year to help bring Gio Gonzalez to Washington. Steve Lombardozzi and Chris Marrero have both had success at the major league level, Lomardozzi currently in the lineup and Marrero on his way back from injury. And of course Bryce Harper made his way through the farm system and has shown he was more than ready for the games highest level.

At this point you cant argue with the results of Johnson and Rizzos rule of the Nationals and the creativity of the teams manager may play a larger role than many think.

Quick Links

Bryce Harper returns to lineup as the Nationals host the Marlins

Bryce Harper returns to lineup as the Nationals host the Marlins

Nats (93-66) vs. Miami Marlins (78-80) at Nationals Park

At long last, we've reached the final series of the regular season. The Nationals will host the Miami Marlins in a weekend set that will likely determine playoff seeding. Washington's magic number to clinch home-field advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series is two, so a win and a Los Angeles loss could sew it up on Friday night.

Seeding aside, the biggest development heading into this game is the return of Bryce Harper, who's back in the lineup after missing four games with a thumb injury. Prior to the injury, Harper had hits in five out of his previous seven games. The Nats have to hope he can pick up where he left off.   

Right hander A.J. Cole, who is currently appealing his five-game suspension as a result of Sunday’s brouhaha with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will get the start tonight. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA. He’ll be opposed by the Marlins Andrew Cashner (5-11, 5.13 ERA).

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - A.J. Cole vs. Miami Marlins - Andrew Cashner

NATS 

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Stephen Drew
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP A.J. Cole

MARLINS

TBA

Quick Links

D'Backs left Marlins message about Jose Fernandez at Nationals Park

D'Backs left Marlins message about Jose Fernandez at Nationals Park

The Miami Marlins have been through so much in recent days following the death of superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez. This weekend, they play their final series of the regular season on the road at Nationals Park.

The Arizona Diamondbacks just left town after their series finale against the Nats on Thursday, but before they departed they wrote a message on the white board in the weight room in the visitors clubhouse. It was a nice tribute to Fernandez, who passed away at the age of 24 last Sunday in a boating accident.

They referenced Dee Gordon's home run hit against the Mets on Monday night, a play that saw him first pay homage to Fernandez and then round the bases in tears.

It's a nice gesture by the Diamondbacks.

[RELATED: Jose Fernandez' stolen high school jersey returned]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE NATIONALS STORIES