Lee not taking Nats manager Johnson's bait

Lee not taking Nats manager Johnson's bait

Lee not taking Nats manager Johnson's bait
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Nationals are trying their best to build a rivalry with the Phillies in the National League East.

It started last month with their "Take Back the Park" campaign, designed to make tickets less accessible to Phillies fans for the Phillies-Nationals series May 4-6 at Nationals Park. But then Nationals manager Davey Johnson told the Washington Post that he would take Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and the rest of his rotation over Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels and the rest of the Phillies' rotation, in part because of their youth and potential.

"Their top three versus our top three, stuff-wise, we match up as good," Johnson told the Post.

"I guess that's his opinion," Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said.

Asked what he thought about Johnson's comments, Lee said, "He should [take those pitchers], because that's his only option. It's what he's got to do."

In other words, whatever.

Lee said he wouldn't compare Halladay, Hamels and himself to any other pitchers on any team in baseball.

"There's nothing good that's going to come out of that," said Lee, who allowed six hits and two runs in three innings in Sunday's 4-4 tie against the Tigers at Bright House Field. "I know we're proven and we've shown what we can do, and if we're healthy, we stack up pretty good against anyone. I'm not going to sit here and try to create something out of nothing, because to me, really, that's nothing."

Asked about the "Take Back the Park" campaign, Lee said, "That's another nothing thing for me. Whatever. They should try to get more fans to come out and support them. They should expect a lot out of their team. It's normal stuff. He should think his pitchers are better than anyone. He should think all his position players are better than anyone else. He should think he's got the best bullpen. If he doesn't, what's he thinking?"