The Washington Nationals own the best record in the majors and lead the Atlanta Braves in the National League East by 4 1/2 games, but a four-game losing streak is causing stress on the field and in the front office.
After yesterday's 4-1 mental error-filled loss to the Phillies, Nats manager Davey Johnson could be heard shouting at General Manager Mike Rizzo during a meeting lasting nearly 20 minutes.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports:
The yelling appeared to be the release of frustration after a dispiriting loss, not the start of a rift. Although it was not clear what the argument centered on, Johnson could be heard shouting, “You come down and manage the team.”
“I had a discussion with my boss,” Johnson said later.
Mental miscues by veterans Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche added a bizarre twist to the Nats' embarrassment Sunday. Werth was on second base when LaRoche's blast hit off the top railing of the right-field stands and bounded back on the field. Both assumed it was a 2-run home run, but an alert Lance Nix grabbed the ball and relayed it into the infield. Werth and LaRoche were tagged out, maintaining the Phillies' 4-run lead.
“You take nothing for granted in this game,” Johnson said, irritated by the play and the fact that neither player, nor third base coach Bo Porter, picked up an umpire in time to see that they’d ruled it a double from the start. “My two veteran players took it for granted that the ball was out. … You can’t do that. You just can’t do it.”