Heading into this weekend’s three-game set in Washington, D.C, the Nationals (37-38) and the Atlanta Braves (44-32) were rolling, with the NL East’s first place team 14-4 in their last 18 and the third-place Nats winners of 17 of their last 24.
The Nationals swept a two-game set with the Braves in SunTrust Park in late May, in the first matchup of 2019 between the divisional rivals, and the Braves came into town 10-9 in their last 19 in Nationals Park after a rough stretch between 2014-16 in which they went just 2-23 in the nation’s capital.
Davey Martinez’s squad made it three straight over Brian Snitker’s club with last night’s 4-3 victory, winning their fifth straight overall, their seventh in the last 10, and 18th in 25 games overall, getting them within 6.5 of first place in the NL East and 2.5 in the Wild Card race.
Martinez talked before last night’s matchup about the mix of young stars (like Juan Soto and Victor Robles) and veterans (Howie Kendrick, Kurt Suzuki, Anthony Rendon) on the Nationals’ roster that helped them right the ship over the last few weeks after a rough start to the 2019 campaign.
“You look at our young guys and then you add the Howies, the Suzukis, Zims, even Rendon, who everybody thinks he’s fairly young, but he’s still a veteran guy, he’s been around for a while, so I think the mixture of having young [players] and having those guys explain to them, hey, every day what they’ve done wrong, what they’re doing right, how to keep them in the mix every day and not let them get too high or two low, is great.”
The Nationals won last night’s game in spite of the fact that they struggled at the plate as a team, going 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position overall with nine left on base in a one-run win.
“We got one more than the other guy and that’s all it took,” Martinez said.
Now they have to stay focused on the task at hand and win another, “take care of the now,” “stay in the moment,” and beat the Braves again like the Nationals’ skipper said before the series opener.
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE 2ND OF 3 WITH THE BRAVES:
Victor Robles has hit safely in 6 straight games.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 22, 2019
He's hitting .368/.435/.789 over that stretch.
He's hit a 3B and 2 HRs, he's tallied 7 RBIs and he ended last night's #CurlyW with an incredible sliding catch.#BigVicEnergy // #OnePursuit pic.twitter.com/vu1qD1izl9