Dusty Baker talked Saturday night about the importance of taking the third of four games with the New York Mets to get the series win in Citi Field.
“You know this is a big game for them to win today,” Baker explained, “because god forbid they win tomorrow then we leave out of here the same way we came in, and with [Jacob] deGrom pitching tomorrow, that’s always tough and the only consolation would have been four games off the schedule, so now hopefully we can push it back to where it was a week ago before we had our bad streak.”
Washington went from an 8.5-game lead in the NL East to 10.5 games after the Nats won three of four in New York, and in spite of the fact that they lost six of their last ten, the Nationals were right back where they were before the first of three-straight losses to the Texas Rangers during what ended up a disappointing 2-5 homestand.
Jacob deGrom, as Baker predicted, spared the Mets from the Nats’ first sweep of a four-game in Citi Field since 2013, and the seventh loss in seven games with their divisional rivals in Flushing, Queens this season.
Over eight innings on the mound, the hard-throwing right-hander gave up just three hits, two walks and one unearned run.
“You’ve got to put it on deGrom,” Baker said, when asked if it was an issue with his hitters’ approach or the opposing pitcher on Sunday afternoon.
“We knew he was going to be tough going into today because they didn’t want to be swept at home in a four-game series, which is always tough to do. But, yeah, I’ve got to put it on deGrom. He even helped himself out, hit his first homer.”
With three wins over the Mets, Baker’s Nationals improved to 24-13 on the road this season with three more to play in Miami this week before they head home for a much-needed off day Thursday, and then a seven-game homestand against Cincinnati (3) and Chicago (4).
Baker isn’t looking past the Marlins, however, after the strong start against the Mets on the current road trip.
“We look back and say, okay we’d be 3-1 here versus 1-3, then they’d be a whole lot closer, and so we came here and picked up a couple games. Going to Miami we’ve got to finish strong cause we’re a little weary right now and we know Miami has a high-powered offense and so we’ve got three more days to go and then we have an off day so we have to finish strong.”
The Nationals start the three-game set with the Marlins with the second-best road record in the National League and the third-best mark in the majors, and they’re going up against a Miami team that’s just a .500 club at home this season, with a 16-16 record in Marlins Park, though they’ve won 9 of their last 10 at home.