Davey feels ready, but will miss team after finale

Davey feels ready, but will miss team after finale

Davey feels ready, but will miss team after finale

PHOENIX -- In Davey Johnson's last game as manager of the Nationals, Washington lost to the D-Backs, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field, as the club finished second in the National League East with an 86-76 record.

"It was a fun ride. It's a great group of guys. It's time to go home. Put me out to pasture," Johnson said. "… I'm not dropping off the face of the earth."

In the final game of the season, Johnson used mostly a Triple-A Syracuse lineup, which was able to give the Nationals the lead in the top of the sixth inning against D-backs left-hander Wade Miley.

Tyler Moore led off and reached on a two-base error by third baseman Martin Prado. Zach Walters followed and hit a triple past right fielder Gerardo Parra, plating Moore to tie the game at 1. Walters then scored the go-ahead run on a single by Steve Lombardozzi.

Right-hander Tanner Roark showed once again that he should be given serious consideration for the back end of the rotation next year. He pitched seven innings, allowing one run on three hits.

For the season, Roark went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA. He said he is looking forward to battling for a starter spot in 2014.

"It feels good to finish the year strong and hopefully keep it going next year," Roark said. "I feel like I can play up here. But you never know what's going to happen. I'm going to work out in the offseason, do my best out there, come back and be ready to go for Spring Training."

The D-backs had a chance to at least tie the game in the seventh inning against Roark. Arizona had the bases loaded with one out, but Tuffy Gosewisch struck out looking, and Wil Nieves grounded out to Lombardozzi at second to end the threat.

"Every time he is out there, he has been outstanding," Johnson said of Roark. "This is a good-hitting ballclub. He makes his pitches. He is unfazed. He goes right after them. He has a heck of a shot next year [at] making this club."

But Arizona came back and took the lead against reliever Ryan Mattheus. Prado singled to left field, scoring Adam Eaton. A.J. Pollock reached on an infield single, scoring Tony Campana -- running for Paul Goldschmidt -- and giving the D-backs a one-run lead.

But the day belonged to Johnson, who had a distinguished career. He finishes with a 1372-1071 record.

"He got his 300 wins over .500. That's good. That's a great accomplishment," Roark said.

Johnson will fly to Washington D.C. after the game. He will pack up his car and go back home to Florida on Tuesday.

"I feel melancholy, because this is a great group of guys," Johnson said. "I love the organization. I'm finishing up with the city that made me love big league baseball -- the Senators. My life has come full circle."

Don't think for one minute that Johnson will have nothing to do in his retirement. Johnson already has an offer to manage the Florida Collegiate Summer League next year, and he will be a consultant for the Nationals.

Don't look for him to be in a Spring Training uniform, though. Out of respect to the yet-to-be-named new manager, Johnson doesn't want anyone to think that he wants his old job back.

Reliever Tyler Clippard is one of many who will miss Johnson. He said he had great years under the the skipper, because he showed a great deal of of confidence in Clippard from the moment he arrived as manager in June 2011. Clippard said Johnson's faith in him never wavered in their two-plus seasons together.

"Davey has been a figurepiece in baseball for a long time," Clippard said. "The tutelage and the stuff that he has given our team, myself -- and the confidence that he showed in me personally -- is second to none. I'm really grateful for him being my manager the last couple of seasons.

"It's sad to see him go. I know he is going to enjoy his retirement. As the Nationals are concerned, we are going to benefit from him being here. I wish him all the best. I think he left us in a good spot as an organization. I'm thankful for him being my manager."

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.