When Davey Johnson was hired following the resignation of Jim Riggleman, it was thought to be a temporary gig. With comparisons to Jack McKeon, the story was that Johnson, already on the payroll, would be the 2011 caretaker and that this fall and winter Mike Rizzo would find the guy to lead the Nationals into a glorious future.
A funny thing happened on the way to that glorious future. Everyone realized that Davey Johnson is a pretty good manager. Tom Boswell writes:
The Nationals will go through a process after the season to analyze their options. Things can change. A better candidate might be found. But the dots have become so huge it’s impossible not to connect them. Baring an earthquake, Johnson is returning. And it’s a saga that’s gaining a “meant-to-be” quality.
Boswell has Rizzo as agreeing that, yes, they’ll look at other candidates, but quotes him saying “that’s a tough list to compile: managers who are better than Davey Johnson.”
If Davey wants to keep the job, I’m having a hard time seeing why the Nats wouldn’t want to give it to him.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.