Dusty Baker tried to rest some of his regulars in Thursday’s make-up game against the Baltimore Orioles, since the Nationals had just flown back to Washington from California the night before, arriving in the nation’s capital at 2:00 AM after their nine-game, three-city West Coast swing.
The Nationals managed to beat the Orioles, 6-1, but as a team, they looked tired in last night’s series opening loss to the Texas Rangers. In spite of Baker’s efforts, the trip and long flight seemed to catch up to NL East division leaders.
“We tried to combat it yesterday for today,” Baker told reporters after the 5-2 loss.
“We were just a little flat and there’s not much you can do about it, catch up on your sleep, which is a very short night tonight, so it will be tough tomorrow, but this team seems to respond well to tough situations.”
The “tough” situation in this case is another game with the Rangers, at high noon in D.C. today. Then the finale is at 4:05 PM tomorrow. It’s a rough stretch for Baker and the Nationals, though he said he would have to wait and see how everyone reacts.
“We’ll see tomorrow. It does something even to the manager, you know what I mean,” he said. “Because your sleep is off and these guys [the Rangers] — they were fresh you could tell they had a day off yesterday and so they were watching us at home, or in the hotel probably while we were playing, so we’ll call off hitting tomorrow and we’ll see how we look tomorrow and then we’ll see how we look the next day.”
And the next day. The Nationals don’t have another off day until next Thursday. No one said it was going to be easy.