But time continues to dwindle for the team to get back in the race, and Wednesday's 11-1 loss to the Tigers didn't help.
"I think if we win series and put together some winning streak, like we are fully capable of doing, things will take care of itself," Johnson said. "I feel like we have to win over 90 games to get into [the postseason]. But we have to be consistently better all the way around in our game. If we do that … we'll be fine."
It was Johnson who proclaimed the 2013 season was "World Series or bust" during last year's Winter Meetings after the team signed right-hander Dan Haren to a one-year deal. But, as Johnson put it, it's looking like a bust. It hasn't helped that the offense has been sputtering all season and injuries have hampered the team. For example, Bryce Harper missed a month because of a left knee injury and Ross Detwiler has missed a lot of time because of back problems.
"We are not out of this thing. I like the way our schedule is racking up the rest of the way," Johnson said. "We can do similarly to what the Dodgers did. I like my talent here, too."
Johnson reiterated that he didn't expect the Nationals to make any deals before the non-waiver Trade Deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
"You just don't tear up the talent pool and make a big change for the sake of making a change," Johnson said. "I don't regret saying World Series or bust. It looks more like bust. This is my last go-around anyway, but I want to do what's best for the organization. I want this organization to continue to be a first-division ballclub. The Lerner family has done that, [general manager Mike] Rizzo has done that. We are not holding our end of it on the field. … I am optimistic about this team."
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.