Dusty Baker talked after the Washington Nationals went 9-1 on a ten-game road trip through Atlanta, New York, and Colorado, about his goal of one day putting together the perfect road trip.
“Every road trip I always think about having the perfect road trip,” Baker explained, “you’re thinking about 10-0, and I say that to myself all the time, and I don’t know if we’ve ever had one, but that’s what you yearn for, and basically, you just want to win series and especially on the road.
“They say if you’re .500 or better you’re playing pretty good on the road.”
Baker’s Nationals improved to 21-12 on the road this season with a 7-2 West Coast road trip, taking three straight in San Francisco, two of three in Oakland and two of three in Los Angeles.
Before the finale with the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, Baker talked to reporters about a potential sweep in Dodger Stadium, which would have been the Nationals’ first (2005-present).
Either way, before the finale in LA, it was a successful road trip, but, of course, he said, he would prefer another win.
Putting together a 7-2 road trip is, “not bad,” Baker said, but, “8-1 is better.”
“Tomorrow is a big game because we always talk about and pride ourselves on getaway day victories and so tomorrow is a huge getaway day.”
Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers salvaged the series finale, with a 2-1 win Wednesday afternoon, after dropping 4-2 and 2-1 decisions in the first two of three.
Though they fell behind late after taking a 1-0 lead into the sixth, the Nationals had an opportunity to tie it when Trea Turner tripled to start the eighth, but he was tagged in a rundown one out later when Bryce Harper sent a grounder back to Pedro Baez on the mound, and the Nats stranded a potential tying run on second in the ninth.
But a 7-2 road trip is still... pretty darn good.
And as Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga noted, the Nationals performed pretty well on two long trips early this season.
Nats have had a 10-game trip and a nine-game trip. Record: 16-3.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) June 7, 2017
“You feel pretty good,” Baker said.
“You certainly would have wanted this one, but they’re tough to sweep here, but we did have them on the ropes in the eighth.”
Overall though, he said, he was able to appreciate what his team accomplished out West.
“We can take the positives,” he said.
“We swept San Francisco, won two out of three and a game that really wasn’t ours, but this two out of three here, this game could have been ours, but it wasn’t so we have to be satisfied with what we have.
“If someone had told you when you left home you’d be 7-2 I’m sure everybody would have been more than satisfied, but when you could have been 8-1, then you’re not satisfied.”
The Giants and A’s, both below .500 on the season, are teams the Nationals should have beaten, and did, but the Dodgers have been a tough matchup for the Nats.
Los Angeles took five of six in 2016 and knocked Washington out of the postseason in last October’s NLDS matchup.
Taking two of three in LA was big for the defending NL East Champs.
Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts was impressed with what he saw from Baker’s team and his own in the three-game set.
“Very evenly matched, very evenly matched,” he said.
“Well managed team, well coached team. They’ve got a nice blend of veterans, young players, they can beat you with speed, power, they can pitch, but we can do some things too, so for us to salvage the series, we’ll get them again later and I don’t think this will be the last that we see of these guys.”