Shut out for the 9th time in their last 36 games and the 10th time overall in 2018 in their 2-0 loss in the series finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, Davey Martinez’s Washington Nationals once again proved the old baseball maxim true: You can’t win if you don’t score.
“We just didn’t hit,” Martinez said after the Nationals managed just five hits total and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and eight left on base. “Our offense didn’t hit.”
“Consistency is the name of the game,” the first-year skipper said at another point in his post game press conference.
“You just got to be consistent. We’ve seen a lot. One day we hit and score a lot, and one day we don’t, so we’ve just got to get consistent.”
How that happens is the obvious question, of course.
“It’s more collectively,” Martinez explained. “Individually, the guys hit the ball here and there. But it’s more like our situational hitting. Runners on second base. Sometimes you just got to move the ball.”
Their best opportunity actually came courtesy of a leadoff double by starter Gio Gonzalez in the top of the third, but Adam Eaton lined out to left, Juan Soto flew out to center, and then Anthony Rendon lined out to center field as well for three quick outs that stranded the lefty.
How did they not score in that situation?
“We got some momentum there,” Martinez said. “You think you’re going score a run. You got the right guys up there. Just didn’t happen today.”
In the bottom of the third, Jordy Mercer doubled to start the Pirates’ half of the inning and scored two outs later on a homer to center field by Starling Marte which ended up being a game-winning hit.
What, if anything, can the Nationals do to address their issues with hitting with runners in scoring position?
“We had the guys that I feel like can get on base and the guys I feel like can drive them in,” Martinez said. “The base of our lineup is based on that. Adam gets on base. Soto can drive him in. Soto can walk. Anthony’s driving them in, can walk. [Bryce] Harper comes up and he can hit homers with guys on base.
“[Matt Wieters] against right-handed pitching is unbelievable. He hit the ball – he missed a couple balls just a bit. I’m not going to fault him for that. He had good swings all day. [Wilmer] Difo – you know, it just happens. We just got to consistently find ways to score runs.”