Washington’s bullpen combined to give up a total of 11 runs in three innings of work, but before things got out of hand late, the Nationals’ series opener with the Chicago Cubs in the nation’s capital was a fairly competitive game.
“Hey look, we battled,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 14-6 loss.
“The game was 5-4 going into the eighth. Yesterday the bullpen was really good. Today, not good. But our bats were really good, and like I said, they battled. You watched [Kurt] Suzuki last inning beat out a double play ball, a catcher, they don’t quit. But our bullpen has got to come in and — we were right there, I mean the game was a really good game, close game, the bullpen holds us it’s a different ballgame, they just couldn’t do it tonight.”
One day after the bullpen did solid work to hold things together after a 1 1⁄3-inning outing by starter Aníbal Sánchez, who left the game with a hamstring injury, the Nationals’ relief corps once again struggled as it has throughout the first few months of the 2019 campaign.
“It’s frustrating, trust me,” Martinez told reporters.
“Like I said, yesterday the bullpen did a heck of a job, and then today the same guys didn’t get the job done. So it is frustrating especially when the game was within reach.”
Tonight, in the second of three with Cubs in D.C., the Nationals have Stephen Strasburg on the mound coming off back-to-back losses in which the right-hander received no support, with 6-0 scores in the opponents’ favor in each outing.
Will the Nationals’ offense, which produced 13 hits and six runs in last night’s loss step up and support Strasburg? Will the Nats’ bullpen bounce back if they’re needed?