Washington’s Nationals won. They did. Enjoy that for a second. Okay, they won, yes, with 12 runs on 14 hits, but they also, and here’s where reality sets in, they also gave up a total of 10 runs, on 15 hits, and they committed four errors, they went 5 for 15 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. It took a couple comebacks, and some late-game heroics from Juan Soto. But they won. Just take the W and move on, right? It was a 12-10 final in the end, but it was a win.
“Sloppy, but it was a win,” manager Davey Martinez said. But what did he make of the game as a whole? Hold on to your butts. Davey had some thoughts.
“It was sloppy. It was a sloppy game, but hey, you know what, I’m tired of saying it, but I’ll keep on reiterating, these guys don’t quit and they play hard. But we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to be consistent. If we want win every day and have a chance to win every day, we’ve got to be consistent. We really do. But I’m proud of these guys for not quitting. They could have folded early. I mean, we made some errors. [Kyle] McGowin was up early in the game, he settled down, got the ball down, got ground balls, we made some errors, we missed a pop fly, but you know what, they battled back.”
“They battled, and they keep battling. It’s to no surprise with these guys right now the way they come back and keep playing, and keep playing, but with that being said, we have to play clean baseball. I know I sound like a broken record, but we have to. If we’re going to come back and do the things we want to do, we have to play clean baseball. I’ll tell you right now, if I was a fan, I’m frustrated. I am. And I am a fan of these guys, because I know them, and they don’t want to play like that, I know they don’t. But hey, I keep telling them every day, simplify. You’re not going to win 14 games with just one game, play one game, just play one game. Every pitch of every inning. Just play that pitch and move on from there.
“Don’t think you’re going to make up all these games in one, okay, just play the game, simplify everything and just play hard. They play hard, but we’ve got to clean it up.”
Big City in The District! pic.twitter.com/GgX7W1UYFv— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) May 25, 2019
The win snapped a five-game losing streak, and was just the eighth win in 23 games in May, but it was a win, even though McGowin struggled, giving up six hits and five runs over four innings, even though Trea Turner committed two errors and probably should have been hit with a third when he whiffed on a key two-out line drive in the eighth that let a go-ahead run score before the Nationals battled back in the bottom of the eighth to take a lead that held up, even though Sean Doolittle gave up another home run in the top of the ninth before he shut it down and earned the save. But he gave up home runs in back-to-back games for the first time since 2016. But they won.
“I looked up and it was almost a four-hour game,” Trea Turner said after the rough day in the field and 2 for 5 day at the plate. “That last inning we realized how long it took, but I think it was just a fight on both sides, and not a pretty game but we won.”
“We just try to forget about what happened before, and try to come back every day and fight every pitch, every at bat, and we did it,” Juan Soto told MASN’s Alex Chappell after hitting a go-ahead, three-run home run on a 100+ MPH 3-1 fastball from Marlins’ righty Tayron Guerrero in the bottom of the eighth.
Matt Adams hit a 102 MPH fastball from Guerrero out in the next at bat, providing a little wiggle room that made the top of the ninth slightly less stressful, but Martinez said that tonight’s game was the first one in which he thought he saw the stress and pressure get into the Nationals’ heads.
“You know what, I saw a little bit of pressure, I really did,” he explained.
“When you fall behind like that the first inning and then all of a sudden you come back and score a run and the second inning they score two more runs, yeah, there’s pressure and I saw a little bit today, but you know what, they hung in there and the dugout was just electric, you know, and they were fired up the whole game, it was fun. Soto with the big homer, and then Matt comes up behind him and [Anthony] Rendon with the big homer. I mean, the guys really put the ball in play, they took their walks, but we’ve got to start playing the whole game, everything, all aspects of the game, pitching, defense, hitting, baserunning, let’s just play clean baseball.”
-Those are the two fastest pitches hit for HRs this year, per Statcast. They came in consecutive ABs.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 25, 2019
-The Nats are now the first team since this started getting tracked in 2008 to hit multiple HRs on 100 mph pitches in the same game or SEASON. Again, they did it back-to-back.
“Like I said, keep everything simple, don’t chase the game, play the game, you guys have been doing it your whole lives, have fun, just let it come to you and do it,” Martinez said at another point in his post-game presser.
“I mean, we had good at bats today, but let’s play baseball the right way. Let’s start playing baseball. We’ve got a good team, I know that, we’ve got good defense, we’ve got young studs, we’ve got veterans that can play the game, we’ve got good pitching, our bullpen is going to be okay, I’m telling you, I know our bullpen is going to be good, but let’s play the game the right way.”