There has been plenty of adversity for the Washington Nationals to overcome in the first two games of this weekend's three-game set with the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field, which wraps up tonight on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
On Friday night, another rough outing for Stephen Strasburg in the Braves' home left the Nationals in a 7-0 hole that they fought back from in what ended up a 7-6 loss. Nats' skipper told reporters after the game that he was impressed with his team's determination in mounting what was an ultimately unsuccessful comeback.
"Ordinary team would fold," Williams said. "Down that many runs that early, it's easy to fold for a club. Our guys don't do that. They fight until the end and they proved that once again tonight, so that's a good thing."
The loss left the Nationals 3-8 vs the Braves in 2014, but as Williams has stressed all season, as soon as the series opener was over they moved on to the second game of three.
The start of Saturday night's game was delayed, however, forcing the Nationals and Braves to sit around for three hours and forty-one minutes while both teams waited for a storm to clear out of the area.
At 10:51 PM EDT on Saturday night the game finally started and, of course, went to extra innings.
Three hours and thirty-eight minutes after it started, the Nationals claimed their fourth win over the Braves in 12 matchups in 2014. Williams was proud of the way the Nats continued to fight to earn their 63rd curly-W.
"Considering all that happened today and the way that we had to fight through the last couple of days, it was pretty good for us," the Nationals' first-year skipper said. "Fought them all the way."
Waiting around as long as they did was clearly not ideal, but with the end of the 2014 campaign fast approaching, it was important to get the game in if at all possible.
"Yeah, it's odd," Williams said of the long wait. "But it's part of the deal. We're getting toward the latter part of the season. Limited off days. Mutual off days are non-existent and so, it would have had to be a doubleheader back in here. It might have been a different story if it was a day game tomorrow, but since it's an eight o'clock game, then they decided to stick around. Thankfully, we pulled it out."
The difficulty of starting a game at 10:51 PM and finishing it around 2:30 AM was more of a mental than physical problem according to the former major leaguer turned manager.
"It's more mental probably," Williams explained, "because the longer you go, the more that you get into shut-down mode. But they've been doing this all year. Regardless of situation of game or delays or anything like that, they're ready to play. So, I'm proud of them."
What impressed him most about the Nationals' 4-1 win?
"Just the fact that they kept going," he said. "Little offense from either team early, and we had a chance a couple of times to get a base hit and score a run, didn't happen, but they're resilient. They just keep going."
The Nationals and Braves are back at it tonight at 8:05 PM EDT.
• We talked about the Nationals' win, the Michael Taylor chatter and more on a 3:00AM edition of Nats Nightly this morning: