Before the start of last night's series opener in San Francisco, former Giants and current Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker talked to reporters about the importance of the four-game set in AT&T Park and the difficult task ahead in facing the NL West's division leaders.
"The Giants are a team they don't strike out much, they can strike you out," Baker said.
"They don't walk many guys. They don't have as much speed because of some of the injuries, but their pitching is their strong suit. They're especially tough, like I was here for a long time -- especially tough in this ballpark. I think we have 61 games left or whatever it is, well, now everything is magnified down the stretch.
"It's a countdown now. We're almost in the dog days of August in a couple days. So we want to have a good road trip here and we know it's going to be tough here, but it's going to be tough everywhere from now on."
The Nationals got to Giants’ right-hander Johnny Cueto last night, connecting for four straight two-out singles in the second and scoring three runs in what ended up a 4-2 win.
Even Baker was surprised the Nationals did what they did against the All-Star pitcher.
"Usually you don't see that many hits any more and you don't really see that many hits off Cueto," he said.
"On the board up there it looked like Johnny's velocity was a little down because I saw... I think he pumped it up to 93-94 a couple times, but most times he was 90-91. His pitch count got real high in that one inning and they had somebody loose already and I know Johnny Cueto is not used to coming out of these games early.
"So, we did have him on the ropes, we hit some balls hard but he stayed around a lot longer than we wanted him to and probably not as long as he wanted to."
Baker talked to reporters, including MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, before the game about the lineup he put out there for the series opener when he was asked about Trea Turner leading off and whether he’d settled on the 23-year-old infielder as a solution to the issues the Nationals have experienced getting production out of the leadoff spot.
"I don’t look at it like that," Baker said.
"I just thought that was the best lineup for the day. He’s been doing well. The matchup tonight ... right-handers actually hit Johnny Cueto a little better than left-handers. That’s not to say much, but you’ll take any edge that you can get. Tomorrow’s going to be something different."