Going into the series finale in Miami last night, the Washington Nationals had won seven of their last nine games, eight of their last 11, 11 of 16, and 20 of 29 games dating to May 24, a day after they were swept in four straight on the road in Flushing, Queens, NY’s Citi Field.
As mentioned in their pregame notes for the third of three with the Marlins, the Nationals’ .690 winning percentage since 5/24 ranked second in Major League Baseball behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (23-9, .719 winning percentage in that stretch).
“It’s a testament [to] them,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters before last night’s game.
“I’ve said this all along,” he continued, “regardless of what the score is early, they never quit, they keep playing, and that builds momentum. Even if we don’t win that game, the next day they come back and they feel good about themselves and they’re ready to go again, so it’s a testament to how they go out and appreciate the game and appreciate what we do, and it’s a lot of fun watching them when they’re going good, it really is, they have a good time and they all understand the ‘1-0’, what the ‘1-0’ means, and that’s what they want to do, is go 1-0 today.”
After falling behind 3-0 on Thursday, the Nationals rallied to take the finale with the Marlins, 8-5.
Their 21st win in the last 30 games last night in Marlins Park got Martinez’s squad back up to .500 (40-40) for the first time since April 23rd, when they were 11-11 after 22 games, and left them 7.0 games of the first-place Atlanta Braves, and 2.5 back in the Wild Card race.
“They’ve played unbelievable,” the second-year skipper said. “We talked about this earlier today, about how we get down and there’s no quit.
“These guys are always staying in the fight, and that’s what they do. We came back after a 3-0 deficit today and [Stephen Strasburg] kept us in the game and did well and gave us seven strong innings.”
Looking back to that four-game sweep in New York, which left the Nationals 12 games under .500 at 19-21 on the year, was his team in a bad place, or down on themselves at that point?
“No,” Martinez said. “Like I said, if you watched our games all year long, there was always that extra fight, that extra push, you know, and granted, there’s no secret, our bullpen struggled, but you could see it, we’d come back, we just couldn’t finish out the games, and now we’re finishing the games, and it’s a great feeling. Proud of the boys, like I always am, every day. Let’s get on that plane, we’ve got a long plane ride, and get some short rest and get ready to play Detroit.”
The Nationals’ three-game series with the Tigers starts at 7:10 PM EDT in Comerica Park.