Washington’s loss on Sunday hurt. Not only did it keep the Nationals from sweeping the Miami Marlins, but Tanner Roark’s four-inning outing forced manager Davey Martinez to throw some pitchers out there he didn’t necessarily want to use.
As the first-year skipper explained after the loss, his starters have to start going deeper into their outings.
“It’s really tough,” Martinez said. “When you’ve got to use your bullpen fifth inning, these guys are strapped. They’re going out there and doing the best they can and I appreciate that very much, but our starters have got to go deeper in the game, they do.
“If we’re going to win consistently, they’ve got to pitch. It’s hard to leave Tanner in the game with 102 pitches after the fourth inning, so but I’m proud of the boys, they’re playing well, today was just a bad day. We’ll come back tomorrow, head to Pittsburgh and do it again.”
Martinez was asked if there were any moves he could make to shore up the pen and bring a fresh arm up to help out.
“I believe going into tomorrow we’ve got some guys that can pitch again, but we’ll see,” he said. “It’s hard when you’ve got [Matt] Grace, who’s done a great job and he’s basically really your only long man. But these guys they’ve been eating up innings. I didn’t want to put [Brandon] Kintzler in the game down like that, nor did I want to put [Ryan] Madson, and they just kind of manned up and said they wanted to go out there and pitch and I wanted to get Maddy out of the game earlier than that, and he looked in the dugout and wanted to stay out there and try to work on some things.”
The fact that he eventually turned to Mark Reynolds for the final out of the ninth is a good sign how desperate Martinez was to avoid using any other relievers.
In order to get help, however, Martinez acknowledged, they’d have to risk exposing and potentially losing someone.
“It’s tough. When we sent Timmy down, Collins, that was tough, I really believed we were going to lose him and he went through waivers and we were able to get him back which was really nice. But some of these guys, if they don’t we might end up losing them, we don’t want to, and like I said, I’m really happy with the guys we’ve got down there, just lengthwise, like I said, our starters have to pitch deeper into the game, that’s the bottom line.
“When they start doing that we’ll be really good, and they did that earlier, and we were doing good in the month of May, so we’ve just got to get better.”
“Tomorrow, we get [Jefry Rodriguez] out there and hopefully he gives us a good six or seven innings,” Martinez concluded.
Or maybe they score enough runs to avoid putting pressure on either their starters or the bullpen.