Nationals manager Davey Johnson removed all of his starters, save Danny Espinosa, at various points throughout the game, nearly emptying his bench in Washington's 12-2 loss to the Cardinals. Johnson admitted afterward that his players didn't really need the time off their feet quite yet, "but we'll call that a rest day."
"You hope you don't get 'em. If you do, you hope it's a blowout in the other direction," first baseman Adam LaRoche said Friday night. "You don't ever want to be down that much, where he's pulling everybody out. This time of year, I think giving guys a blow, if nothing less, a little mental break for a few innings to kind of hang out, so I don't have a problem with it."
While Johnson planned to rest his everyday players only after clinching the division title, the tight race with the Braves has left the Nationals with only a few games remaining to do that. With that in mind, Johnson said he would have taken out Espinosa as well, but someone had to play shortstop -- and the infielder is usually averse to leaving a game.
"He doesn't like to come out," Johnson said. "A lot of the guys I took out didn't want to come out."