“We played [three] pretty good teams and with everything said and done we came out 6-4,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after back-to-back losses to the Braves left his squad three games under .500 at 37-40 on the year at the end of a 10-game homestand against Arizona, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
Washington’s season-high 10-game road trip wrapped up with the team 21-19 in the nation’s capital this season, 13-7 in the month of June, and 17-9 in the last 26 games in a stretch that started with the Nationals taking three of four from Miami’s Marlins at home in D.C. between May 24th-27th.
Now they head out to Miami 16-21 on the road this season, for three with the Fish and then three with the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park.
Late in this past Saturday’s game with the Braves it looked like the Nationals were on the way to a second straight win over the NL East’s first place team, with an 8-4 lead, but the visiting team scored nine runs over next three innings in what ended up a 13-9 win for Atlanta, and a second straight loss in the series finale left Martinez’s squad 8.0 out in the East, and 3.0 games back in the race for the Wild Card spots.
“I think we had the opportunity to score some runs late in the game, just couldn’t get that big hit,” the second-year skipper said after the 4-3, extra-innings loss on Sunday, in which the Nationals were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and nine left on base.
With the score 2-2, Brian Dozier and Trea Turner reached base with no one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Adam Eaton bunted into a force at third, and Anthony Rendon (who was 0 for 4 with two Ks at that point in an 0 for 5 series finale) grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3.
“We just couldn’t get nothing going early and then all of a sudden we started manufacturing some runs, and big play with Eaton’s bunt they got the runner out at third, but we still had a chance with Anthony up — he hit the ball hard, just couldn’t get it done,” Martinez said.
After they fell behind 4-2 in the top of the tenth, the Nationals put two on with no one out in the bottom of the inning but they got just one run out of the opportunity, stranding a runner on second in the one-run loss.
“We’re fighting,” Juan Soto told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman on Sunday.
“And that’s how you see a team that’s trying to come back. Right now, we’re feeling good. We lost, but we lost fighting.”
Soto did what he could, going 14 for 35 (.400/.463/.743) with two doubles, two triples, two homers, four walks, and nine strikeouts on the homestand, with hits in nine of ten games.
He and the rest of the Nationals got a much-needed day off on Monday, and now it’s back to work against a Marlins team that’s won four straight and six of their last ten.
“We have a day off tomorrow, which the boys need,” Martinez said.
“We come back and we’ve got Miami for three, so let’s have that day off, come back and play Tuesday.”