What was Davey Johnson talking about?

Photo courtesy Mark Gormus / The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Photo courtesy Mark Gormus / The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Yesterday MASN Sports’ Byron Kerr updated his readers on news of Chien-Ming Wang’s latest rehab start with the Senators Thursday night in Harrisburg. In the piece, Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson was quoted as being pleased with Wang’s latest recovery from hip soreness that has plagued the pitcher for the last two months. That is all well and good, but Johnson also commented on the team that was behind Wang.

“His defense didn’t help him a whole lot…When he is right there are going to be a lot of ground balls and they need to be picking them up and throwing them out, rather than having a couple of errors and having him throw 30 pitches an inning. But he looked in great shape.”

I am as frustrated with the state of the Senators as anyone, but can anyone tell me what the 69-year old manager was talking about? The Senators were charged with zero errors and frankly played pretty solidly behind the Taiwanese righthander.

Let’s step through Wang’s outing:

Akron Top of the 1st
Tyler Holt singles on a line drive to left fielder Jimmy Van Ostrand, deflected by shortstop Seth Bynum.
With Jordan Henry batting, Tyler Holt steals (9) 2nd base.
Jordan Henry walks.
Thomas Neal grounds into a double play, third baseman Sean Nicol to first baseman Justin Bloxom. Tyler Holt out at 3rd. Jordan Henry to 2nd.
Chun-Hsiu Chen called out on strikes.

Sure, the leadoff single bounced off Bynum’s glove but only after he made a full extension dive into the hole. Even if Bynum comes up with it, he’s not throwing the speedy Holt out at first base. For the inning, Wang threw 20 pitches and without a nifty 5-3 double play it would have been a lot more.

Akron Top of the 2nd
Jesus Aguilar grounds out, third baseman Sean Nicol to first baseman Justin Bloxom.
Ryan Rohlinger grounds out, shortstop Seth Bynum to first baseman Justin Bloxom.
Davis Stoneburner bunt grounds out, third baseman Sean Nicol to first baseman Justin Bloxom.

Two routine groundball outs followed by an absolutely great play by Sean Nicol on a perfectly placed bunt. Wang tossed 10 pitches in the second and Nicol’s web gem minimized that number.

Akron Top of the 3rd
Roberto Perez doubles (16) on a fly ball to center fielder Brian Goodwin.
Carlos Rojas out on a sacrifice bunt, pitcher Chien-Ming Wang to second baseman Jose Lozada. Roberto Perez to 3rd.
Tyler Holt triples (2) on a sharp fly ball to center fielder Brian Goodwin. Roberto Perez scores.
Jordan Henry out on a sacrifice fly to left fielder Jimmy Van Ostrand. Tyler Holt scores.
Thomas Neal strikes out swinging, catcher Kris Watts to first baseman Justin Bloxom.

Here is the Senators’ one miscue of Wang’s outing, and it was bad no doubt about it. Holt’s triple should have been ruled an error. Brian Goodwin had a long way to go, but he settled under it and just whiffed on the catch. Keep in mind this was a ball hit about 400 feet off a Wang pitch, so it’s not like it was a cheap one either. Eventually it cost the Senators an extra run and one extra batter for Wang to face. Four extra pitches. Big whoop-de-do.

Akron Top of the 4th
Chun-Hsiu Chen flies out to center fielder Brian Goodwin.
Jesus Aguilar lines out to center fielder Brian Goodwin.
Ryan Rohlinger walks.
Davis Stoneburner grounds out, third baseman Sean Nicol to first baseman Justin Bloxom.

A clean inning only prolonged by a two-out walk.

Akron Top of the 5th
Roberto Perez grounds out, second baseman Jose Lozada to first baseman Justin Bloxom.
Carlos Rojas strikes out swinging.
Pitching Change: Marcos Frias replaces Chien-Ming Wang.

Am I missing something? Davey can read a recap, right? He can watch a replay of the game on MiLB.com, right? I don’t think Wang can help the big league club right now, but I certainly don’t understand Davey throwing the Senators under the bus either

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