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Mattheus backs Johnson's NLDS decision


VIERA, Fla. -- During the Nationals' 7-5 loss to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2012 National League Division Series, manager Davey Johnson decided to use Edwin Jackson --- a starter -- in relief instead of using Ryan Mattheus in the seventh inning with the Nationals leading, 6-3.

Most of the season, Mattheus was used in the late innings and posted a 2.85 ERA. In Game 5, Jackson came in and allowed a run to make it a 6-4 game. But talking to Mattheus about not pitching the seventh inning of that game, he will never second-guess Johnson's decision.

"I would have loved to pitch in that game. There weren't any hard feelings or anything like that," Mattheus said. "That's the manager of our ballclub. He won Manager of the Year. I'm never going to question his decision.

"The night before, Jordan Zimmermann came in and threw a beautiful inning. Why wouldn't you think Edwin Jackson would do the same thing? I just think it didn't work out in our favor. There were no hard feelings, by any means."

In fact, Mattheus credits Johnson for helping him succeed in the big leagues.

"I have the utmost respect for him. He has shown confidence in me since Day 1 when I got here," Mattheus said. 'He has been pivotal in my career. Just as a young player - not necessarily young by age, but young by experience in the big leagues -- in situations, he has handed me the ball. That was a vote of confidence from Day 1. I wouldn't be off to the start I have in my young big league career if it weren't for a manager like Davey Johnson."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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