After falling behind 3-0 last night, the Washington Nationals rallied to tie it, kept it tied through nine, then won in it the tenth, with Daniel Murphy connecting for his 23rd home run of the season and his ninth home run in 37 games against the team that drafted and developed him then allowed him to become a free agent.
Dusty Baker talked after five strong from Stephen Strasburg, five scoreless from his bullpen, and a 4-3 win in extras, about what impressed him most about the Nationals coming back to take the second of three with the New York Mets in Citi Field.
“Probably wish we’d have gotten some more timely hits, but our bullpen continues to throw well,” Baker said. “Stras threw the ball good, we decided to take him out at the time, and we got some — we came back, and usually the team that scores first wins — I don’t know what the percentages are, you guys probably know, 75% of the time or something, but they jumped us 3-0, and the fact that we came back and kept grinding, that’s what I liked the most.”
Baker was asked if he had any concerns about having to play extras in New York, when he’s trying to manage his players and pitchers carefully to get everyone ready for NLDS action in a couple weeks.
“No, not really,” he said. “I just think about everybody’s rest for tomorrow, but hey, if you’ve got a game to play you might as well win it. And that’s what we did, and nice to win a one-run game, especially since we lost the last two games, have been one-run games, so we’ll have a lot of the kids in there tomorrow, again, so it was just good to get one here.”
Baker said it was nice to see Murphy get the big hit last night, connecting for his 23rd home run of the season.
“He’s been struggling a little bit,” he explained, “... and maybe this was his prior home, and I’m sure he has a lot of friends and people here, and a lot of memories, so it’s always good to come back to where you’ve had success.”
And, he added, Murphy is one of the players who tends to benefit from a day off, as he did with a 2 for 5 game after a night off on Friday (though he did make a late game pinch hit appearance in the series opener).
“Of all the guys on the team, a day off, I mean, look at the averages,” Baker said.
“A day off really helps [Murphy] and [Anthony] Rendon, and those two guys are amongst the leaders when I give them a day off or two and then they come back strong.”
Murphy and Rendon are back in the lineup today, mixed in with some bench bats and regulars for the finale of the three-game set with the Mets... and yes, that does appear to be Howie Kendrick listed as the first baseman, assuming it’s not a typo from the Nats, who just released the starting lineup. He’s played there before. Should be fine.