After his team’s dramatic ninth-inning win Thursday to force a decisive Game 5 in the division series, Nationals manager Davey Johnson spoke about Jayson Werth’s home run, Jordan Zimmernann’s unusual relief appearance and his team’s confidence.
On Ross Detwiler’s six-inning start:
I tell you, I was so proud of him. He pitched; he didn’t start the game overthrowing. He pitched. He used his‑‑ in crucial spots, he used his changeup for a good strike. Used his curveball. Went in and out. He was just totally under control against a good‑hitting ballclub. It was great. Fun watching. I told him I think it was after the fifth inning, I said, if there’s a runner in scoring position, I’ll hit for you. If not, you’re going back out there. He was good with that. But he made pitches when he had to. You know, in a big game like that, normally I’d hold him at around 90 pitches, somewhere in that area, and I guess he threw about 100. But he was outstanding. Unbelievable. Won the game for us.
On Jayson Werth’s 13-pitch at-bat:
He had an at‑bat like that against Bell, I think, in Miami. He’s a remarkable guy. He can force a pitcher to throw a lot of pitches, and he did that time. He did the same thing, you know, coming back after a rain delay. That’s the way that game should have ended. Jayson Werth hitting a home run. He has not hit that many this year. What was it, a 13, 14‑pitch at‑bat, something like that. It was unbelievable.
On the bullpen’s effort:
I had him warming up earlier. I had him warming up in the inning before with Stammen to make sure that he wasn’t rushed, and that if I had to make a change, I wasn’t going to use Jordan. I wanted him to start the inning clean. He came in, and I mean, he was hyped. That’s the hardest I’ve seen him throw all year. I mean, his slider was like 91, and … some guys in our club said, ‘That’s our next closer.’ I said, ‘no way.’ But when he came off, I shook his hand and Cat (McCatty) said, ‘how you feeling?’ and he said, ‘I’m drained.’ He said, ‘Well, don’t be too drained, because you’re going to probably start in three days.’ I had kind of a beat‑up bullpen, so I really needed that seventh inning to do the job, and he did a heck of a job.
On the bullpen’s emotion:
It was electric. It’s been that way most of the year. But in both cases, the job they did was‑‑ they rose to the occasion. All of them were throwing harder than I’ve seen them throw. Although Clippard has had some rest and Storen pitched the night before, but just a lot of energy, which they say I’m supposed to give a big speech before the game to get them all pumped up. No. These guys are pumped up. They don’t need no motivation. Gio was telling me days ago, ‘we’re going five; we’re going five, Skip, don’t worry about it, we’re going game five.’ And today, he said, ‘what did I tell you? what did I tell you?’ These guys are all geared up for the moment.
On the Nationals’ confidence:
I gauge energy level, and our energy level has been great. (Kyle) Lohse pitched a good game against us. It was nice to see kind of a pitcher’s duel instead of them slug‑festing us. I knew that if we could kind of keep it in that situation, I’ve got guys in the lineup that can do some damage. And I was hoping, praying that it would happen in the ninth inning. I didn’t want to go to my bullpen after the crew I had used, because they are the most rested guys.
But it’s fun to see young players have that much energy. You know, nobody was tired, and everybody was fired up, I think on both sides. I saw it on the Cardinals’ side, too. Those guys are throwing harder than they have ever been throwing. So everybody felt it. So it’s going to be fun tomorrow night.
On the third-largest crowd in Nationals Park history:
Oh, I mean, seems like the last two months, our crowd here has been electric. And it translates to the players. We feed off it. You know, my guys like playing for a packed house, and they were up on their feet, waving those red flags and giving us red instead of white. It was fun, and really fun for me. I don’t get excited too much, but I was excited to see the crowd.
On Jordan Zimmermann’s relief:
Yeah, the guys said, he needs to be our closer. I said, no, he needs to eat up more innings than a closer. But Zimm said to McCatty, he said, ‘I just tried to throw it as hard as I could throw it.’ It reminded me of Gagne when he came in as a reliever, he would throw it as hard as he could throw it. When you know he’s going to be there for just one inning, and it was a throw day‑‑ as electric as he was, the temptation for me was, I don’t have to hit, so let me leave him out there; I like watching this. But no, I was thinking about tomorrow. I didn’t want him to go out there and hurt himself. … I mean, 91 mile per hour slider? You’ve got to be kidding me.
On Adam LaRoche’s early home run:
It was good to get on the board and get the lead. But they had three hits and they had an unearned run. But I was thinking back to some of these playoff games I’ve seen where the teams won with three hits, and that’s obviously what we did tonight. We won with three hits; a couple big blasts. But I’d rather see that kind of game, it’s more fun for me to manage that kind of game than, you know, 10‑9 game.