Nationals 4-Game Losing Streak Leads to Johnson-Rizzo Shouting Match, Inevitable Strasburg Shutdown Chatter

The Nationals were swept in Philly over the weekend, and their lead in the NL East over Atlanta has shrunk to 4.5 games. Panic? Certainly. There are 35 games left. Sunday’s loss prompted this shouting match between manager Davey Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo:

After the final pitch, Johnson and General Manager Mike Rizzo conversed behind the closed door of Johnson’s office for nearly 20 minutes, Johnson’s shouts audible from the hallway outside.

The yelling appeared to be the release of frustration after a dispiriting loss, not the start of a rift. Although it was not clear what the argument centered on, Johnson could be heard shouting, “You come down and manage the team.”

This is where I remind you Boston had a 9-game lead over the Rays for a Wild Card spot, and blew it over the final 24 games.

Obligatory Stephen Strasburg update: He’s pitched 145 1/3 innings this season, and the much-discussed “shutdown” was rumored to be in the vicinity of 180 (though the Nationals never confirmed that number). Strasburg has gone exactly six innings in each of his last four starts, and his pitch count in those games was 91, 104, 100 and 94. Strasburg is slated to pitch Tuesday against the hapless Marlins. Atlanta is in San Diego tonight, and with a win, could trim the deficit to four games.

Here’s guessing Mike Rizzo is praying for RG3 to get off to a hot start for the Redskins and take some ink away from the Strasburg shutdown, especially if the Nationals’ slide continues. [Wash Post]

Previously: Scott Boras Hints There Could be Legal Ramifications if the Nationals Don’t Sit Stephen Strasburg
Previously: Stephen Strasburg Shutdown at 180 Innings is Overshadowing (and Will Probably Ruin) the Nationals Incredible Season

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