Dropping two of the first three games with the Philadelphia Phillies wass not ideal, of course, but the Washington Nationals have one game left this afternoon to get off on a good note before their trip to the Midwest where they'll match up against St. Louis, Kansas City and Chicago (NL).
Dusty Baker talked before last night's game about the importance of building momentum heading into what will be a difficult road trip after a few weeks of facing mostly NL East opponents.
"Momentum is -- it goes day-to-day, and momentum also is in the hands of who's pitching. You know what I mean?" Baker said.
"The better your pitcher and the better he pitches, the better momentum you have. So yeah, it's important.
"It's important we want to win the series and we've only got two more games left in the series, so this road trip is much publicized, we knew it was tough before the season started."
"But first and most important is how we play against these guys," Baker said, referring to the Phillies.
"Because these guys are starting to think that they're -- they should because they've got good talent -- think that they're pretty good. I knew yesterday was going to be tough, because I hate to play a team, I've learned over the years, I hate to play a team or face a pitcher that's one game under .500, because there's something, more motivation to get to .500 and if they lose that pitcher or that team, then they've got to win two to get back to that same one position that they were in before. Our job is to take them back under .500 again."
The Phillies' wins in the first two games of the series left them 11-10 on the year.
"They're pretty tough right now," Baker said after the second straight loss to the Nationals' NL East rivals.
"We've got a long way to go. Their pitching the last couple nights, that's the key. They didn't score a bunch of runs, but they held us, which is to their credit."
This afternoon, the Phillies send Aaron Nola to the hill in the series finale in the nation's capital.
Nola, 22, gave up seven hits and seven runs in five innings when he faced them in Citizens Bank Park earlier this month.
Of course, Jeremy Hellickson got hit pretty hard last time he faced the Nationals too, then he held them to two hits in seven scoreless last night.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for today's game against the Phillies:
Tanner Roark’s daughter Madison found time in her busy schedule to write out today’s lineup. pic.twitter.com/MuCrTWXsq9— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 28, 2016
[ed. note - "Dusty Baker was asked about mixing things up before this afternoon's game about changing things up in the lineup. Here's what he had to say in response to a question about Anthony Rendon and Michael A. Taylor getting the day off..."]:
"They were going to be off anyway, because we're about to go on the road trip. Sometimes I do my lineups two or three days in advance. And I think maybe you guys peeked on my desk, because it was your idea for me to shake the lineup up, you know what I mean. So, if it works today, then you guys take credit for it, but it was already done in advance."