Washington took the series opener with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, but dropped the series after back-to-back losses in the last two games.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker talked after each off game about the sloppy play that led to the losses against a Pirates team that had won just five of 15 games heading into the series.
“We had errors, we got picked off, threw to the wrong base,” Baker said after the 6-1 loss on Wednesday night.
“We didn’t deserve to win that one because we didn’t play very well, so we’ll just have to come back tomorrow and play better fundamentally.”
The Nationals didn’t play much better in the series finale with the Bucs, with a shaky start from Tanner Roark taxing the bullpen as well.
“It was a bad couple days,” Baker said after the finale with the Pirates.
“We didn’t play very well. We made a lot of mistakes, it seems like we weren’t there sometimes, and so we just have to up the intensity and up the concentration.”
Baker was asked if he worried that the bad play would carry over into this weekend’s series in Atlanta, or if he thought his veteran-filled roster would put it behind them.
“I already said this a hundred times, worry does no good,” Baker told reporters.
“Worry is going to worry about itself. So, you don’t worry, what you do is you try to find a solution.
“You talk to the guys and hopefully they’re talking amongst themselves.”
Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the Nationals in tonight’s series opener with the Braves, coming off a 6 2⁄3-inning start in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C. last Sunday afternoon in which he gave up four hits, three walks and one earned run, receiving no decision when Shawn Kelley blew up in the ninth.
Baker liked what he saw from the left-hander in the first game of the doubleheader with the Phillies, however, in spite of the end result.
“He made pitches when he needed them,” Baker said. “He had quite a few walks and then we turned quite a few double plays after the walks. He kept the ball down when he needed to, turned it over, changed speeds, his breaking ball wasn’t quite as sharp as it had been, but he pitched well enough to win.”
Gonzalez makes his first start against the Braves this season after going (0-1) in three starts this month, over which he’s posted a 4.08 ERA (8 ER in 17 2⁄3 IP), though six runs came in one outing.
He’s walked 14 (seven in one game), struck out 15, and held hitters to a .226/.368/.484 over that stretch.
It’s the Nationals second trip to Atlanta this season, where they won three straight back on April 18-20 as part of a seven-game winning streak.