Yesterday we ripped into John Feinstein’s stupid and evidence-free column in which he argued that the Nats missing the playoffs in 2013 was directly attributable to the Nats shutting down Stephen Strasburg in 2012. Someone asked Davey Johnson what he thought of it:
“I say he’s an idiot,” Johnson said. “You do what is best for the day. I live by that rule, and Mike Rizzo lives by that rule …”
He did, however, say that he figured the Nats 2012 chances would have been improved by having Strasburg around:
Then Johnson was asked whether the Nats would have beaten the Cardinals in the NLDS had Strasburg been available. “Probably,” the manager said.
I kinda think that too, as do many others. And it is notable to hear Johnson say it. But it still does nothing to support the idea that the Nats 2013 woes are attributable to it.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.