With their second straight loss to the New York Mets in Citi Field, the Washington Nationals fell to 10 games under .500 at 19-29 after 48 games and were left 9.0 games out in the NL East. The loss was their third straight overall, the fourth in the last five, six in their last ten, and 15th in 24 games in May.
So, GM Mike Rizzo was asked during his weekly visit with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies this morning, where do things stand at this point and how does he assess the state of the organization?
“Well, definitely frustrated, pissed at performance, and that type of thing,” Rizzo said.
“Satisfied with the energy level, the effort and the fight the team shows every night. I give them credit for that. Just the performance-level is not adequate. We haven’t been in this position for nine years, since 2011. We’re 10 games under, we’re not playing very good baseball, and the most frustrating part about the whole thing for me, and for a lot the coaching staff and the players, is this is a winnable division.
The Nationals are, of course, closer to the bottom of the division, (3.5 games ahead of the Marlins), than they are to the top, but Rizzo insisted that he still thinks they have the talent, especially when healthy, to compete in the East.
“We’re frustrated,” Rizzo continued, “... but we still believe in the talent-level on this club and we’ve got to keep fighting and we’ve got a tough matchup today with [Jacob] deGrom, but we’ve got ‘Mad Max’ Scherzer on the mound so I feel good about our chances.”
deGrom faced the Nationals in the season-opener, holding the Mets’ divisional rivals to five hits and a walk in six scoreless innings, but he’s coming off a less-than-stellar outing against the Miami Marlins which saw him give up nine hits and seven runs (six earned) in just five innings, though he did give up two runs or fewer in his previous three outings, with a 1.29 ERA, four walks, 21 Ks, and a .162/.213/.257 line against in 21 IP over that stretch.
The Nationals’ offense has picked up in recent games, however, with an average of 5+ runs per game over the last seven.
“When you get back your 2nd and 3rd and 4-and-5-hole hitters, it’s a lot easier to score runs,” Rizzo said. “We’re still missing Matt Adams, [who] should be back with the ballclub very, very soon, possibly today if all goes well overnight with him, and Zim is not too far down the road, so positionally we’ll be fairly whole again, which is a good thing.”
Will deGrom frustrate the Nationals further as they try to end their three-game slide?