During the course of the season, certain wins stand out.
Last night was one of them. The Nationals took the first game of a three-game set against the White Sox with a 9-5 victory. This was a game that featured them blowing three saves in this game, but in the end, the Nationals overcame that. They even managed to win with Jim Riggleman bailing out on them by resigning with his managerial contract being an issue.
The Nationals stood for everything that Jim Riggleman doesn’t. They don’t quit when the going gets tough. They play on and hope everything goes right. Good things happen when they do.
Maybe Riggleman should have learned something from his team. Like them, he should have kept managing this season and things would have gone well for him. His team is so good right now that he would have gotten a nice deal. Instead, he showed his selfish side by quitting with his contract not being picked up.
The players couldn’t have been happy about Riggleman abandoning them when they needed him at the right time. They made it a point not to bash him, but based on their indifference, one can infer they didn’t appreciate it. If they genuinely liked him, they would have said something nice about him on his way out, but they didn’t. They won’t miss him.
The Nationals should enjoy this one after what they endured Thursday. They wanted to prove a point they will do well without Riggleman. For one night, they did.
Normally, this type of news can haunt the players and a team. It’s a crisis that can bring players together or set them apart. In this case, that is bringing the Nationals together.
It will motivate them even more to go out win games. They want to prove to themselves they can win without Riggleman. These guys want to show their former manager made a mistake for leaving a good situation.
They have pride. They will say a manager doesn’t make that much of a difference, but they don’t like it when a manager abandons them. It’s the worst insult a manager can endure. It’s something that can’t be taken of their resume.
It would be a sweet story if the Nationals can make the playoffs without Riggleman. They should strive o reach that goal. They are good enough to qualify for a wild-card spot with so many mediocre teams out there. It’s something they can be proud of if they accomplish that feat.
It will be interesting how the Nationals go about this now. They are going to name Davey Johnson as their next manager. The choice is appealing, but it will be interesting how he relates to the players and if he still has it in him to manage.
One thing going for Johnson is that he has talent on his roster to win games. The pitching has been great all season, and he has good hitters in Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Mike Morse, Ryan Zimmerman Roger Bernadina and Wilson Ramos.
When a manager has talent to work with, he is going to win lot of games, and he will look good in the process. That’s why Riggleman’s record is good this season. He knew not to screw it up, and that’s something Johnson will try not to do.
A motivated group of players will make Johnson’s job easy, so he has that going for him.
Make no mistake. This is about the players here. Their egos have always been big. They like to think they don’t need managers to help them win games, so this is their shot to make this theory go true.
The Nationals are going to be fine without Riggleman. With their talent, they shouldn’t have any problem.
Now if they lose guys to injuries, it will be a different story. Those guys are irreplaceable, especially John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen.
This season has turned out to be more interesting. It was fun watching this team do their thing for the first few months of the season. Even when they were losing low-scoring games, things looked great. The young talent of hitters was growing, and the starters took their game to the next level by going deep in games and pitching well.
Now, they will attempt to make this into a nice story by doing this without Riggleman.