While there was plenty of excitement in the nation’s capital last night, with Carter Kieboom making his MLB debut and Max Scherzer reaching another milestone, the same issues that the Washington Nationals have been dealing with in the previous 23 games returned in the 13th loss in the first 24 games and the fifth loss in the last seven.
Eighth inning bullpen issues, two-strike home runs, 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and six left on base in a one-run game...
What message did second-year skipper Davey Martinez have for his team when he spoke to reporters after the 4-3 loss to the San Diego Padres?
“I just want the guys to keep their heads up, keep playing hard,” Martinez said.
“They’re playing hard. We’ll win games, we will, they’re playing really hard. That’s all I can say. You come in the game for [Kyle] Barraclough and the guy fouls off a couple pitches and he walks the leadoff hitter, and that’s never good. So, those little nuances, we’ve just got to clean up, we really do, and once we do we’ll take off, I know we will. So, we’ve just got to keep battling.
“Guys are battling, battling, a couple guys looked like they were swinging the bats a lot better, and today we just couldn’t get nothing going, so ... I liked our lineup.
“[Ryan Zimmerman] is going to come out of it, I know it, [Brian] Dozier is swinging the bat better, so we’re going to keep pushing, and we’re going to come out of it and win a lot of games.”
There were positives to take away from the game of course. Kieboom homered in his MLB debut, and got an opportunity with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth. He K’d on a nasty splitter from Padres’ closer Kirby Yates, but the 21-year-old infielder didn’t look out of place at all in the first big league game of his career.
“He had a good day,” Martinez said. “Big moment there in the ninth inning, but he was very poised, you know, and he did well.”
Kieboom is back in there at short this afternoon. Stephen Strasburg is on the mound in the second game of three with the Padres in D.C. Will the Nationals even things up?