Remember the eight game winning streak? Yeah, that was a while ago.Â Remember when the team was tearing up the standings and they were a mere four games back from Atlanta? That was before the Braves took off.Â There was a time in this season where it looked like the Nats could really make a playoff push, and it was before Davey Johnson was manager.
After the switch, it took Johnson a bit to get his first win.Â Since then the Nats have been, well, the Nats we’ve known for the last year.Â It is easy to blame it on Johnson, but the fact of the matter is that the Nats weren’t as good as they were playing, and they are now regressing back to the mean.
The team is a mix of so-so vets with some kids who are still learning the major leagues.Â They have just one player above a .300 batting average (Michael Morse). Bottom line is, being at the bottom of the league in batting average isn’t going to win you a lot of games.Â The Nats were somehow winning despite the stats, but you can’t play that much above stats for that long.
The Nats have made one very good adjustment under Johnson, and that’s base running.Â They steal more, pull off more double steals, and are able to advance better.Â They still leave a lot to be desired in clutch situations, having a lot of trouble bringing guys in scoring position home for runs, but the base running has taken a huge step forward. Ryan Zimmerman even stole a base last night.
Johnson’s hire was not an ideal situation.Â No one saw the Riggleman resignation coming, and frankly if he was willing to put his own interests above job security, the team and anything else, the organization is better off without him because that selfishness would’ve manifested itself in other ways down the line. But I digress.
Johnson is serving as interim manager, meaning he hasn’t really been hired.Â The Nats didn’t have a ton of time to get it together and make a temporary hire.Â His performance will be re-assessed at the end of the season.Â Being realistic, it’s not like the Nats were likely to make the playoffs anyway.Â Johnson didn’t ruin anything.
Anyone who was expecting “Magic” with Johnson was a little delusional.Â He hasn’t been a manager in years, and he was a convenient option because of his proximity to and knowledge of the team.Â The coach is blamed often because it’s easier to blame one person than 20, when in fact he has a rather average 20 to work with.Â If this team improves it’s personnel at the trade deadline, we will see whether it is Johnson or the players.