“I like that,” Johnson said. “That prevents them from throwing that many pitches over and getting ahead. It’s awful tough hitting with two strikes all the time, and we didn’t do that today.
“I got on Desi after [Wheeler] walked [Werth]. [I said], ‘What in the world are you faking a bunt for? He’s got to throw you one right down the middle.’ He got a double on a fastball, but look first pitch and hit a double. Don’t fake-bunt. You’re leading this club in doubles, swing the bat. But that’s the kind of attitude we’ve been developing. We’ve got to get off of that.”
Their aggressiveness quotient will go up regardless Monday when they return home to open a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers — and have Bryce Harper waiting for them, ready to come off the disabled list.
The Nationals, who have vastly underachieved in comparison to the first half of their 98-win 2012 season, are 25-18 when Harper is in the starting lineup. They are a .581 team with him, and at 16-22 a .421 one without.
“We certainly have the talent [to play like we did Sunday],” Johnson said. “We’ve been kind of in a rut. But it’ll be good to get Harp back. He’s been very aggressive. We just need to keep that momentum going.”