In Week 1 of the SB Nation’s FanPulse voting, confidence in the overall direction of the 2019 Washington Nationals was at 95% and Nats’ second-year Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez had a 73% managerial approval percentage, but those numbers dropped quickly in the first few weeks, with the overall confidence down to 7% in Week 7 and Martinez’s approval mark at 21% before it fell to 14% and 11% by Week 9.
Nothing like a 28-11 run into the All-Star Break to turn things around. When the results came in this week, the overall confidence, which has been steadily climbing over the last weeks is up to 71%, the highest mark since Week 1, and Martinez’s confidence rating is up to 64%. It’s not too surprising. The club looked like they were headed for a high first round pick in June 2020, but the run they went on starting in late May left them atop the Wild Car Race and 6.0 games back in the division at the Break.
“I think that we’re playing better baseball,” GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last week when asked what was behind the team’s turnaround.
“If I had to put my finger on one thing that’s improved as far as performance on the field,” he said, “... our defense is a lot better now than it was a month, a month and a half ago.
“And that obviously goes hand-in-hand with starting pitching and relief pitching.”
The focus isn’t on the possibility of making the postseason now though, as both Rizzo and Martinez said as the so-called first-half came to a close.
“We need to win tonight, that’s when we need to win,” Rizzo explained. “That’s as far as I’m going to look forward. Tonight is a big game, we want to win a series, we’re looking at games, we’re looking at series, we’re looking at homestands, we’re looking at road trips, that’s kind of the escalation of how far I’m looking out into the future. Tonight is a big game, they’re all big games.”
“The thing that I can tell these guys, what I tell them every day,” Martinez said, is, “‘Hey, let’s just focus on the here and now,’ and the 1-0, the 1-0 is key. ‘Let’s just go 1-0 every day,’ don’t worry about what we did yesterday, don’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow, just go 1-0 every day and that’s been our focus.”
Will the Nationals’ run be rewarded with some bullpen help and maybe another starter at the trade deadline or sometime in the next few weeks?
The national baseball question in this week’s FanPulse voting asked which potential trade target among starters voters would give up the most to get...
Where are you on these questions? If you didn’t participate in the FanPulse survey the first three weeks, you can still sign up above or HERE.