clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

GM Mike Rizzo on the Washington Nationals "going out in a blaze of glory"

New, comments

With thirteen games to play and a 6.5 game deficit in the division, the Washington Nationals know what the odds of a return to the postseason are, but they're determined to go down swinging if that's how it ends, then sorts things out.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's not over yet. With 13 games left on the schedule and a 6.5 game deficit to overcome, however, Fangraphs.com gives the Washington Nationals a 1.4% chance of winning the division. It would take an epic collapse by the New York Mets.

Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell summed the situation up for fans who are still watching, explaining how he would approach the remaining games in a chat with readers yesterday:

"It's not over. Could be soon. Don't tear your hair. The pain's over. They already blew it. Just watch and enjoy it in case the Mets blow it right back to 'em. Sure, very long shot. But longshots are fun, too. Just a different kind."

In an MLB Network Radio interview on Sunday, before the Nationals took the series finale with the Miami Marlins, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked to hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette about what went wrong to leave the Nats in the position they find themselves in with the season winding down.

"I think that we were inconsistent," Rizzo said.

"We were inconsistent offensively. Our starting rotation was inconsistent. We had guys making spot starts because of disabled list days and that type of thing. So starting pitching was inconsistent, which was the backbone of the plan this year.

"Offensively, we just couldn't get in any rhythm. We were out of sync just about the whole year because we were kind of piecing together a lineup day in and day out. I think that the timing of the injuries and the timing of guys returning had a lot to do with it. We couldn't get any consistency this year, any rhythm in our lineup and defensively, we played very poorly defensively and I think that affected our pitching and our bullpen."

"I think that we were inconsistent. We were inconsistent offensively... starting pitching was inconsistent, which was the backbone of the plan this year." -Mike Rizzo on MLB Network Radio

While injuries to Doug Fister and Stephen Strasburg affected the rotation and injuries to Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman certainly hurt, Rizzo said the bullpen injuries made a big impact as well.

"Specifically the injuries in the bullpen were problematic because we didn't backfill those spots when a [Craig] Stammen and then later on when a [David] Carpenter went down and that type of thing.

"We relied on some young players in the back end of the bullpen at the back end of games and they weren't fully-developed and fully ready for the role and I take responsibility for that portion of it.

"We just had some underperforming players that were healthy and that kind of factored into it. Kind of a perfect storm of a lot of different things, but there's plenty of fingers to be pointed at the GM for not putting together a roster that had enough depth. But at the end of the day, I'll tell you, these guys are playing hard. They played hard through the whole season, they hustled and really it's a group that I'm proud to say I was a part of and it's a group that's grinding it out every day till the end of the season and I give them credit for that."

But the big question on everyone's mind, of course, is whether or not Matt Williams will return for a third season as the Nationals' manager in 2016?

"Those are questions we're going to answer after the season," Rizzo said.

"We've got a bunch more games left this year. We're going to try to win every single game that we play... and we want to catch fire and go out of this thing in a blaze of glory that we can take into next season."

The window for the current roster is closing this season, with Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Denard Span and Doug Fister unlikely to return, so there will necessarily be a number of changes, but Rizzo said the decision on Williams' future is clearly a big one.

"We've got a lot of decisions to make this offseason," he acknowledged. "We lose several free agents if we don't re-sign them. We've got a lot of roster manipulations that we're going to have to do to improve our club and that's certainly one of the main questions that we're going to have early in the offseason, is what we're going to do with management."