The Washington Nationals have hired Davey Johnson as a special assistant.
Johnson was a pretty fabulous manager. His managing days are over
— he has had some serious health and family issues in recent years and after all of that and at his age, he likely
doesn’t have the energy for the 162-game grind anymore — but he’s
still a storehouse of baseball wisdom, and it only makes sense that he
could help a team in some capacity. Good for the Nats for recognizing that.
This makes yet another in a series of bright moves by that team since the firing of Jim Bowden last year. I’m not sure what snarky baseball bloggers like me are going to do now that Washington isn’t a laughingstock anymore, but I’m sure Nats fans don’t particularly care.
Despite the earlier rain, the All-Star Game got underway on time and following the usual pregame festivities Max Scherzer took the hill to face the American League.
Scherzer did great in the first inning, striking out Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve and then, following a walk to Mike Trout and giving up a single to J.D. Matinez, retired Jose Ramirez on a weak popup. Scherzer was cooing with gas: the reigning Cy Young winner had not thrown a pitch as fast as 98 m.p.h. all season, but he threw three of those during his scoreless first.
Chris Sale‘s work in the bottom half was more about nasty stuff than mere heat. Following a leadoff single allowed to Javier Baez he got Nolan Arenado to fly out to left, struck out Paul Goldschmidt on a nasty slider and then got Freddie Freeman out via a fly to left.
Aaron Judge led off the second. The same Aaron Judge someone wrote today could be trade bait if the Yankees felt so inclined. Which, um, OK, that was dumb anyway, but it looked even dumber when Judge muscled Scherzer’s second pitch — a letter-high fastball — out to left field with many, many feet to spare for a homer.
Scherzer got the rest of the A.L. side, but the damage had been done. The American League leads 1-0 after an inning and a half.