Davey Johnson would have offered to walk away from Nationals if team hadn’t surged

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Nationals manager Davey Johnson says he would have offered to step down from his position if the team continued to fumble, rather than go on a 22-7 run since August 20. In Adam Kilgore’s column for the Washington Post, Johnson said:

“I always wanted to stay and give us a chance to win,” Johnson said. “But I’m team-first, organization-first, if we needed more information on in-house managers.”

Over the last 29 games, the Nationals’ previously-dormant offense came alive, averaging nearly 5.5 runs per game. Meanwhile, the pitching staff became even more of a stalwart, posting an aggregate 3.23 ERA in the same span of time. The Nationals enter tonight’s game against the Marlins at 82-71, five games out of the second NL Wild Card-leading Reds.

This is Johnson’s last season with the Nationals. He will shift into a role as a consultant with the team after the season, and the Nationals will begin a search for a new manager.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.