Though the Washington Nationals won their April 8th matchup with the New York Mets and right-hander Jacob deGrom, 2-1, the two runs came on a first inning home run by Ryan Zimmerman. Though they generated plenty opportunities over the next seven innings, they were unable to push any more runs across against either the 26-year-old right-hander or Mets' reliever Rafael Montero. In what ended up a one-run game, the Nats went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base as a team.
"We had a lot of opportunities," Nationals' manager Matt Williams said then. "We had guys out there. We just want to keep presenting ourselves with those opportunities. We had first and second a couple of times. Man on second nobody out and it didn't happen for us in those situations, but Ryan had a big swing for us and hit the homer, but we just keep presenting ourselves those opportunities, they're going to come through. And we want to set that up as many times as we can to put pressure on the other team, and pressure on the defense and try to continue to do that."
It's been a mantra for Williams throughout his year-plus on the bench with the Nationals. Keep creating opportunities and eventually, the talented hitters the Nats have assembled will come through.
He said the same after the second of back-to-back 13-run games in Atlanta last night.
After the Nationals pounded out a 13-4 win on Wednesday to follow up on a come-from-behind 13-12 win on Tuesday, Williams talked to reporters about continuing to generate opportunities.
The Nationals made Braves' lefty Alex Wood throw 100 pitches in five innings, scoring five runs on six hits against a starter who hadn't given up more than three earned runs in a start since last July, then connected for six hits off of right-hander Trevor Cahill, who threw 47 pitches in two innings and gave up four more runs.
"I think we had good at bats," Williams said.
"We kept getting those getting opportunities, we came through today. If you keep providing yourself the opportunity and you come through you can do things like that."
"I think we had some good grind at bats against Cahill and got in some good hitter's counts there. All in all, a good offensive effort."
The offensive effort set a franchise record:
This is the first time in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) that the #Nats have scored 13 runs in back-to-back games.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 30, 2015
Was it the Braves' pitching in the last two games? The Nats' offense finally starting to click? They'll get to test it out against deGrom again tonight in the series opener in Citi Field, where the right-hander has thrown 13 ⅓ scoreless this season and has a 1.43 ERA over 82 IP so far in his two-plus seasons in the majors.
We talked about the Nats' offensive awakening in Atlanta, Jordan Zimmermann's start last night in Turner Field and more on last night's edition of Nats Nightly. Listen in before the start of the series with the Mets...