Washington's skipper Dusty Baker talked before last night's game about the difficult hours the Nationals were keeping after their late-night float home from Chicago on Thursday/Friday.
A late night in U.S. Cellular FIeld and a long flight home resulted in the Nationals arriving in the nation's capital at around 4:00 AM and Baker himself didn't get back to his house until 5:00 AM.
"They are tough," Baker told reporters, including MASN's Byron Kerr before last night's game.
"You wish baseball could do something about this. Baseball is trying to make the game more competitive and more parity, but this is going the complete opposite way. We are not the only ones. There are a bunch of teams. Today is not the tough day. Really, the tough day I think is tomorrow, especially when we are playing the 12 o’clock game tomorrow. I think our guys will respond."
Baker said he had plans to give some of his regulars a day off. Friday night it was Anthony Rendon's opportunity to take a break.
Stephen Drew got the start at third base and Baker said the bench bat would play today as well, with another infielder out in the second game of three with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Drew made the most of the chance, going 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, collecting a hit in his third straight game and sixth in the last eight.
Drew's home run was his fifth on the year and his second in back-to-back games after he homered in Chicago.
On the year, the Nationals' bench bat has a .226/.279/.500 line with two doubles and five home runs in 68 plate appearances.
"We knew his track record," Baker said in talking about signing Drew this winter and his contributions after last night's 9-6 win.
"[GM Mike Rizzo] knew him better than anybody because he had him in Arizona. He works hard and he stays ready and he knew when he signed here that he was going to have limited time and opportunities, especially with Rendon playing third and [Daniel Murphy] at second and Danny [Espinosa] at short.
"I'll find a way to get him in there sometime to keep him sharp or find a way to keep everybody sharp and keep other guys strong and so he's one of the most popular guys on the team and you can tell whenever he does well that everybody is probably happier than he is.
"He's a veteran that's been there before and he's been on championship teams and he knows what it takes in order to work and stay ready to play."
Drew gets another opportunity to start this afternoon, with Espinosa getting the day off after he's been on something of a tear in recent weeks.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for the second game of three with the Phillies: