When the Nationals lineup came out Tuesday afternoon, the first thing that stuck out to me was that right-hander Jonny Gomes was getting the start in left field over the left-handed Laynce Nix, despite the fact that the Nationals were facing a right-hander in Derek Lowe.
So, why did Nationals manager Davey Johnson opt to go with Gomes over Nix?
“I’ve got a right-hander tonight and one tomorrow,” Johnson said of the Braves pitchers, with Brandon Beachy going tomorrow for Atlanta in a day game.
“If I use Nixy tonight, then I won’t have him tomorrow. And also, I looked at the matchups and even went and talked to them before I looked at it, Jonny said, ‘He’s in my book,’ so I said, ‘All right.’ (Lowe’s) more of a low ball pitcher and Jonny’s more of a low ball hitter.”
The numbers do seem to support Gomes’ theory, as far as right-handed pitchers go. Gomes is a career .225 batter off right-handers. Against Lowe, though, he’s 4-for-9 (.444) with a double, a homer, an RBI and a walk. Of course, it’s a small sample size, but it’s a good one.
Nix will most likely start Wednesday’s matinee, provided his Achilles isn’t giving him any trouble, and there was one other reason Johnson felt comfortable tossing Gomes in on Tuesday.
“And another thing,” Johnson said. “The strong side of their bullpen, up until closer, is left-handed and they’re all rested. So, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.”