clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals pass test against Arizona Diamondbacks with three wins behind dominant pitching...

Davey Martinez talked about the series with the Arizona D-backs as a good test for the Washington Nationals, who’ve won three straight in Chase Field heading into tonight’s series finale...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona’s Diamondbacks were 10-0 with two splits heading into their four-game series with the Washington Nationals in Chase Field, but with three straight losses they’ve dropped a series for the first time in 2018. Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters before the start of the matchup with the D-backs that he thought it would be a good test for his team, which was on something of a roll heading in, having won 9 of 11 games when they got to Phoenix.

“In order to get to where we want to be,” Martinez told reporters before the series opener, “... these are the teams we’ve got to beat, you know, they’re good.

“The Diamondbacks are really good right now. So I’m looking forward to today, and trying to win today, and then we’ll move forward from there.”

Tanner Roark held the Diamondbacks to one run on four hits in seven innings in the opener, and Max Scherzer did the same in the second of four, striking out 11 of the 25 batters faced in a second consecutive win.

“That’s a great win against an unbelievable opponent,” Martinez said on Thursday night.

“We’re playing well, and for us we’ve just got to keep it going,” he added after the second win on Friday.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

“Like I said, to get to where we want to be, these are the teams that we have to beat and compete against, so like I said earlier, I’m really proud of the guys. They’re coming to play hard and we’ve got another game tomorrow with them, so we can’t let up.

“We’ve just got to keep going.”

They did. Stephen Strasburg gave up one run on five hits in 6 23 innings pitched Saturday afternoon in Arizona, in the third straight win, which left the Nationals 1.5 games out of 1st in the NL East with one more to play tonight against the Diamondbacks.

“It seems to be basically the same thought that I’ve had over the past couple nights, but I’m going to add in one thing,” D-backs’ skipper Torey Lovullo said after the D-Backs’ fourth loss in a row.

“Sometimes when you see some pretty dominant stuff on the mound, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. I know Strasburg today, it was Scherzer yesterday. I watched those guys and they operate just a little bit differently. Roark did on the first night.

“So, I know that we haven’t been scoring some runs, we’ve had some opportunities, and there is a little bit of a theme inside of that as well, because when you have a chance to jump on these guys early in the game before they’ve really caught that tailwind you’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Having been held to three runs total in the last three games, Lovullo said he expects the offense to wake up some time soon.

“Sometimes good pitching can shut you down the way it has,” he said.

“We have a very offensive team that’s loaded with potential to just explode at any time, and we’ll wait for that moment to happen. But while it’s going on and we’re grinding, at times it gets frustrating and I know these guys are feeling that.”

“Like I said, the Nationals have a very special group of starting pitchers,” Lovullo added, “... and we need to give them a little bit of credit as well.”

Jeremy Hellickson starts the series finale tonight on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, going up against Zack Godley, who earned the win when he faced Washington in Nationals Park back on April 27th, in spite of the fact that he gave up 10 hits, three walks, and four runs over five innings.

Hellickson brings a streak of 12 13 scoreless innings into the series finale, after earning his first win of the season last time out with 6 23 innings against the San Diego Padres.