When they were 12 games under .500 at 19-31 on May 23rd. When they went 74-38 the rest of the way. When they fell behind 3-0 early in the NL Wild Card Game and needed a come-from-behind win to make it to the NLDS. Davey Martinez’s ballclub has shown that they will keep fighting, or as the catchphrase puts it, “Stay in the Fight.” If they just, “Go 1-0,” today, as Martinez has implored the Nationals to each day this season, they’ll earn themselves the right to fly from Washington to Los Angeles for Game 5 of the NLDS. If not, the season ends tonight.
“All hands on deck tomorrow,” Martinez said after last night’s loss in Game 3. “We are going to come out, we’re going to fight, and those guys know what we’re playing for and we want to go to L.A. That’s all this means. I told them that’s all this means, we would have to go to L.A. again.”
I think you can trust that the Nationals, as a group, would not mind another cross-country flight.
“We got to put this one behind us right now, and we got to come back tomorrow,” Martinez added at another point in his post game press conference.
They’ll have Max Scherzer on the mound tonight in Game 4 as they try to keep the season alive, and to a man, at least those who spoke after last night’s loss, they believe they can.
”We just try to play good baseball,” Howie Kendrick told reporters after the Game 3 loss, in which his baserunning gaffe short-circuited a potential rally after the Nationals fell behind.
“Regardless of whether we are facing elimination or not,” Kendrick said, “you’ve still got to go out and play. We got to pitch, hit, and play defense.
“Hopefully Max throws a gem and we can put up some runs on the board.”
“Tomorrow is another day,” Aníbal Sánchez said, after a five-inning outing in which he gave up just one run last night.
“We’re still in this battle. And tomorrow, most definitely, we’re going to come back and play harder than today.”
“If there’s a team that’s going to battle to the end, it’s us, man,” Yan Gomes said.
“We’ve got to put this game behind us, we’ve done it before, we’ve done it plenty of times. We’ve got probably our two best guys that anybody would want to go in the next couple of days. So we like our chances.”
He was, of course, referring to Scherzer tonight, and Stephen Strasburg should the Nats get to a Game 5.
Kurt Suzuki said much the same when he talked about being on the brink of elimination.
“We were like that for the Wild Card Game too. It’s no different. A game’s a game,” Suzuki told reporters.
“I always look at it as you’re either going to win or you’re going to lose, you might as well go out and play hard and give it whatever you’ve got and whatever happens happens. You can control yourself going out there and playing hard, and you really can’t control the outcome.
“When you’ve got Scherz and Stras lined up back-to-back, it’s pretty good.”
Their manager believes they have it in them.
“Hey,” the Nationals’ skipper said, “I told the boys, we stayed in the fight all year, so let’s stay in the fight tomorrow and let’s get ready to go to L.A.”