Trea Turner talked after the Washington Nationals’ 6-0 loss in Game 1 of the NLDS matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers about the team playing a little tight and pressing, especially on offense, in both the Wild Card Game and the series opener on Thursday night.
“I think we’ve kind of done that the last two games, just tried way too hard from the start, especially offensively,” Turner said, after going 2 for 8 with a double and a home run over the first two games of the 2019 postseason.
“I think we’re trying a little too hard,” the 26-year-old shortstop added.
“I think just have a little more fun and continue doing what we’re doing, like I said, I think we put together good at bats, we’re just trying to do a little too much.”
His advice for turning the page after the shutout loss in the first game of the best-of-five series?
“Just like I said, enjoy ourselves,” Turner told reporters. “Look around, I don’t care what the score is or what situation you’re in. This is fun, this is why we play the game, and I think we realize that, and tomorrow hopefully come out and play a little better but have a little bit more fun.”
“Yeah, they got to remember how we got here,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said before Game 2 in LA.
“My biggest thing is don’t try to be a guy, be the guy, just be part of a guy, just be yourself. And that was my message to some of these guys earlier today, just, hey, just go out there and be who you are, don’t try to do too much. But all 25 guys are going to participate at some point in time. Just be ready and just do the best you can. That’s all that you can do. These guys, the reason why we are here is because they played together as a team and it takes a whole team to win, it’s not going to take just one individual, so they all just got to go out there and play their game.”
Adam Eaton, who’s 0 for 6 with a walk and two Ks between the Wild Card Game and NLDS opener, said before Game 2 that he agreed with his manager about remembering how the Nationals got here.
“I think that one of our strengths has been being loose and never really panicking,” Eaton said.
“Almost taking the kind of Tony Rendon-type mentality, enjoying one another, having fun.
“But since we have been in the playoffs, I think the seriousness level has peaked. Like all of a sudden we have to be serious or somebody that we’re not. But after the game last night a lot of the guys had some things to say, and I think it’s going to translate today for us, get us to stay loose and have a perspective that has been so successful for us all year long.”
Anthony Rendon, Eaton’s model for a good approach, struggled in the first two games as well, however, going 0 for 6 with two walks and three Ks against the Brewers and Dodgers, but Martinez said that he expected his infielder would turn things around after being under the weather recently.
“He was sick, he’s been real sick, I think he’s -- yeah, I think he’s going to be okay, I really do,” Martinez explained.
“Yesterday he hit a — he lined out to right-center field, which is a really good sign. For him he’s got to utilize the whole field. Sometimes — I tell him sometimes that maybe he gets a little bit too cautious about trying to hit the ball to right field when the ball’s middle in.
“Every now and then just go ahead and try to drive the ball to left field and get your sights out more in front of you than trying to hit the ball the other way.
“But he’s the guy that makes our lineup go. I expect him to come out today and be the Anthony Rendon that we have seen in the past.”
They knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task taking on Dodgers’ left-hander Clayton Kershaw though.
“It’s the postseason,” Turner said.
“You’re not going to get anybody easy, so it’s going to be another battle just like [Thursday] night, and hopefully we can put up some runs early and get in that bullpen.”
Turner doubled and scored on a bases-loaded single by Kendrick in the first inning of Game 2, and Kershaw hit Victor Robles in the first at bat of the second, then gave up back-to-back, two-out hits, and RBI single to center by Adam Eaton, and RBI double to left-center field off of Anthony Rendon’s bat, 3-0.
It was 3-1 in the eighth when the Nationals added to their lead with Ryan Zimmerman hitting a leadoff double before Kurt Suzuki walked and Victor Robles bunted them both over with a sacrifice. Asdrúbal Cabrera connected for a pinch hit RBI single in the next at bat to make it 4-1 in what ended up a 4-2 win.
Turner, who went 2 for 5 with a run scored, was asked after the game about his manager’s and his own comments about the team playing looser and getting a win which evened the series up at 1-1 a things up as things shift to the nation’s capital for Games 3-4.
“I think I said that yesterday in a lot of my interviews after the game,” Turner said of the team, himself included, trying too hard in the Wild Card and Game 1.
“Not a bad thing to be doing in the playoffs. Everybody wants to win, everybody wants to contribute. But just have fun, enjoy each other and kind of look around and embrace where you’re at. Obviously runs on the board helps with that and we put up some runs early and I think we obviously had a little bit more fun winning today. But going forward it’s just to have fun, enjoy each other, and keep battling.”