After the Cardinals beat the Nationals 8-0 in Game 3 of the division series at Nationals Park, manager Davey Johnson talked about his club facing elimination, why Edwin Jackson struggled on the mound, his use of Craig Stammen and more.
On Edwin Jackson’s difficult afternoon:
He just made bad pitches. Talked to (Kurt) Suzuki, he wasn’t hitting his spots, and a lot of hits, pitches off him off the plate, and good hitters will jump all over it and that’s what happened early. I thought he got a little sharper as the game went on, but a couple of really bad pitches, that’s the story.
On continued struggles from starting pitchers:
Well, I mean, you know, I don’t consider the pressure of the situation making bad pitches. You just try to make your pitches, and you don’t try to give in to hitters. You know, Jackson was missing early on, trying to make pitches, and then when he had to come in, he came right down Broadway; and experienced hitters lay off stuff around the zone. … Even the shortstop, that was a cookie, little half‑in, thigh‑high. Couldn’t get the ball down early, that was the key I said for him. When he starts throwing a lot of quality strikes on the knees, early in the game, he usually throws a strong game, but he was up from the start. And you can’t do that against a good‑hitting ballclub.
On if he’d consider starting Gio Gonzalez in Game 4:
No, I wouldn’t do that. We have two more ballgames. (Ross) Detwiler’s capable of pitching a good game tomorrow. That’s been our strength all year. These young guys have pitched great all year. Need a couple more good‑pitched games this series.
On if he’ll give a special message to the Nationals on Thursday:
No, I mean, we lost another battle. We got a couple more battles we need to win, and it comes from our pitching. Detwiler has certainly got the stuff to pitch a good game. He’s pitched some quality games this year. So look forward to tomorrow.
On the problems hitting with runners in scoring position:
You know, the opposing pitchers are making good pitches, not giving in. They are not sitting on balls. I don’t attribute it to being young or inexperienced. Just, you know, I tip my hat to the other guys.
On Jim Joyce’s close call at first base:
Just how come … I’m 20 years older than you and I see him as safe. And he said he thought he got it right. I said, check the replay. He said, I don’t have the luxury of doing that right now. But it was just one play.
On why he used Craig Stammen, despite the reliever’s illness:
That’s a situation I use him against a right‑handed ballclub in the sixth inning, that’s his spot. He’s a bull. It wasn’t because he was tired. He proved that three days in the row the other day, striking out six in a row. Again, maybe the situation, he was also up in the pitch count. Just can’t make mistakes. You can’t hit batters. That was the key. Just didn’t do the things he had done all year. And even Matthews, who has got really good command, right down Broadway, and they got hits. But that’s what happens. Maybe not having the experience and thinking at some times during the year, if I just put something on it, I can get people out. But in big games, you have to make pitches, that’s the key.
On what he feels about being down 2-1 in the division series:
I take nothing for granted. We are not out of this by a long shot. Keep us in the ballgame tomorrow, get a few key hits, we’re right back in it. Shoot, I’ve had my back to worse walls than this, but I like my ballclub.