Washington’s Nationals have three games to play in the 2018 campaign. Eliminated from contention in the division and Wild Card races, and guaranteed at least a .500 finish in a disappointing season, Davey Martinez’s Nationals start their season-ending, three-game series against Colorado Rockies in Coors Field in second place in the NL East.
Martinez talked after the final home game of the season about what, if anything, it means to him that the Nationals have fought till the end, and even overtaken the Philadelphia Phillies for second place in the division, though they’ve fallen short of a repeating as the three-time NL East champions after winning the division in 2016-17 (and 2012, and 2014).
“We want to finish the season out strong, we really do,” the first-year skipper said. “And it’s a testament to these guys, like I said before, they don’t quit, and they’re going to keep playing until the last out of every game, and then we’ll see what happens, but they’ve done really well over the past few weeks and all year. We could have [fallen] apart months ago, and they didn’t and it’s a testament to those guys in that clubhouse, it really is, and the coaching staff and the trainers and everybody that’s been involved, [GM Mike Rizzo], myself, the [people] upstairs, to hold everything together and keep them fighting, keep them believing, and we did that for the most part.”
The Rockies, of course, still have something to play for, with a 1.0-game lead in the NL West as the series starts.
How are the Nationals going to approach the last three games?
“I think we’re just going to go in there and play our game,” Bryce Harper told reporters after the home finale, “and I know a couple guys are going to have a couple days off, and I’m one of those [guys], so just go in there and have some fun, enjoy the weekend and see what we can do.”
“I know Colorado is still in it,” Martinez said, “so I’m going to play the guys we need to play and come Friday try to win Friday.”
So Harper’s going to play this weekend?
“Oh, he’s going to play,” Martinez stated. “Like I said, we want to finish this out.”
Ryan Zimmerman was a question mark, however, after leaving the last game in D.C. in 2018 with a back issue. He’s not in the lineup tonight.
Three more to go, then it’s six long months of waiting until the 2019 campaign starts...