Davey Martinez talked to reporters after the third straight loss to the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals’ fifth straight loss overall, about continuing to have confidence that his team can turn things around.
Since June 1st, however, the defending back-to-back NL East champions are 9-20, with eight shutout losses over that stretch.
So how does the first-year skipper remain confident that his team will at some point be able to turn this thing around?
“Every day I come in every day and have conversations,” Martinez said. “They get it. I’m not going to hold my head down. I’ve been in this game long enough, and I’ve played this game long enough, coached long enough. The last thing you want is people — that’s what would really bother me if people start hanging their head and feeling sorry for yourself.
“There’s no way we’re going to feel sorry ourselves, cause then you’re beat, and I look in that dugout and I don’t see any guy hanging their head, as you can tell the last inning, we put some good at bats together and we were trying to make a comeback. That’s what you get from these guys every day.
“Now we’ve got to start the games like that and things have got to start happening.”
While the Nationals’ manager was holding his post game press conference, his players were holding a meeting of their own, hashing it out in the clubhouse after coming up empty in a 3-0 loss in the finale with the Red Sox. How did the meeting come about?
“How it comes about is leaders take charge and that’s what our leaders do, and I think there is a lot of talent in here and I think they just want to reiterate that there is, and the way we’re playing is not the right way to go about things,” Adam Eaton explained after they talked and got everything out in the open.
Eaton said it was actually an emotional meeting, where a number of players expressed their thoughts on what needs to happen for the team to start to turn things around before it’s too late.
“It was definitely emotional,” Eaton said. “I think any time Max [Scherzer] holds court it’s going to be emotional and there’s going to be some yelling. So it’s just always good.
“In baseball, you don’t have that type of intensity all the time, so it’s a little different, but I think guys gravitate towards that, I think everybody has kind of an intensity bone in their body, and sometimes things need to be said in that fashion. I think the boys are going to grab a hold of it.”
The overarching message those who did speak were trying to convey?
“Let’s get this thing going,” Trea Turner said. “We all know that we’re capable of playing better baseball and it’s time we do it. It’s do or die now.”
Turner was asked what he thought was missing, what isn’t happening right now, and he said it’s all about timing.
“When we don’t score a run and we have a good opportunity I feel like we go on defense and maybe give up a run and then vice versa,” he explained.
“I feel like just that momentum, I feel like we haven’t had a lot of momentum on our side — our fault — creating it ourselves, we need to do that, it’s just that timely hitting, pitching, seems to not be cooking for us and I think that’s the difference in the ballgames is those timely hits.”
“Nothing is happening exactly like we want right now,” Pedro Severino said, “and tomorrow is another day and we’ll come to fight like we do every day.”
“We’re a good team and we can go out there and compete with anybody,” Bryce Harper told reporters.
“Just got to keep grinding keep doing our thing and good things will happen. We’ve never been in this position before and I think it’s an exciting time for us. I think in years past we’ve won the division by a lot of games and we’re able to be behind right now and I’m excited to get out there and test it.”
Harper, like Martinez, said he hasn’t seen any sign that anyone in the clubhouse is giving up.
“I don’t think anybody in this clubhouse comes here and thinks we’re not going to win a ballgame,” Harper said, “or thinks they’re going to get hit around or not get a hit.
“As a team, as a group I think we have all the confidence in the world in every guy’s ability in here, and we just got to stay with that.”
“We didn’t play very meaningful games last year, really,” Eaton added. “I mean I was hurt, of course, the whole year, but you could have a feeling that we kind of got the division lead early and we held on to it the whole season and didn’t play really meaningful games, and I think a lot of guys are approaching it as this is good for us, we need to take our lumps now and play some meaningful games.”
“Hey, look. I’ve said it time and time again,” Martinez said, when asked if there was a need to change or shake things up.
“We’ve to go out there, we’ve got to compete every day, on a daily basis. And we’ve got to start finding some consistency. But I’m not giving up on the boys. They’re going to get it and when they get it this is going to be something really fun. I know that. I can’t hit for them. I can’t play the game for them, but I promise you that I’m in that batter’s box with them hoping that they come through every day, and when I go home I think of ways how to fix things. But I look at these guys and they’re playing their hearts out, they really are, so we just have to stick with it. This thing is going to turn around. We were a pretty good team in May, not very good in June. But we’ll get better. I know we’re going to play better and we’re going to continue and we’re going to win a lot of games.”
“Paul Konerko once said you can only suck for so long,” Eaton said.
“At one point or another this team is going to do what it’s meant to do and how it’s been built and we’re looking forward to that.”
“This is the bottom for us,” Eaton added, “and only up from here.”