Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez talked before last night’s series opener in Citi Field about wanting to see his team play with a sense of urgency against the New York Mets in the final four games before the All-Star Break.
“I want them to come out today with a sense of urgency,” Martinez said, “and treat these games like — hey we’re going to the All-Star Break but treat these games like, ‘Hey, this is game one of a playoff game and let’s concentrate on this game today and try to win today.’”
Asked about his level of concern that his team is hovering around .500 at the end of the so-called “first half”, the first-year skipper reiterated what he’s said often in the last few weeks, he just wants to see some consistency from the team.
“I really honestly don’t have any concerns,” he said, “we’re a good ballclub, we’ve got to just start playing consistently better. There are signs every day. We’ll hit, score ten runs one day, one day we don’t get the pitching, and then one day we do get the pitching we don’t score runs.”
“So I just want them to play consistently,” Martinez added, “... but I think that this next four days we come out and play the baseball we’re capable of playing and then come back after the All-Star Break and start playing good baseball, we’ll be right in the thick of things.”
Ryan Zimmerman, who’s going to get rehab games in during the All-Star Break with an eye on returning for the start of the second-half next Friday, told reporters yesterday that with all the injury issues and struggles they’ve dealt with, there are positives to take from the first 93 games.
“As bad as we’ve played and as many injuries as we’ve had, we’re not out of it,” Zimmerman said. “So, I think you’ve got to look at the positive. Hopefully we can finish strong.”
As some of his teammates have said, Zimmerman also suggested that putting themselves in a tough spot, 5.5 games out in the NL East right now, might be a motivating factor after the Break.
“I honestly think it might be good for us,” he explained. “The last few times we’ve won the division, by now we have a double-digit lead, and I think we’ve clinched the first or second of week of September ... so then you get into that predicament where you don’t know if you want to play every day or if you want to play a couple days and take a day off, and then even on the games you are playing, you obviously play hard every day, I’ve never gone out there and not played hard, but when you’ve already accomplished your regular season goal, and don’t get me wrong I would take that every single year, I’m not complaining about it, but I think it could be good for us. It could let us know what we’re really made of and hopefully if we can come back after the break and maybe make a little run we’ll be kind of going into the playoffs on an uphill instead of kind of trying to hold that intensity that we had and didn’t really have to use for two or three weeks.
“With that being said, like I said before, I’ll take it any way I can get it, but I’ve also like I’ve said before, you’ve got to look at things positively, I’m not going to sit here and pout about us playing bad and being hurt, I think if you look at it that way it gives us a goal to shoot for and something to come out of the break ready to go.”
There are three more to play first, however, starting with tonight’s matchup in New York.