Davey Martinez wasn’t biting when reporters asked the Washington Nationals’ second-year skipper for his thoughts on the big four-game series with the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves in the immediate aftermath of the Nats’ loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
“More so than a series, let’s just focus on the game tomorrow,” Martinez said, setting himself up for his oft-repeated, popular, one-game-at-a-time catchphrase, which somehow has not made it onto a t-shirt yet.
“The Braves are ahead of us, I get it, we all get it,” he continued, “... but let’s just worry about tomorrow, focus on tomorrow. I’ve said this before, we go 1-0 tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.”
A 90-minute delay to the start of the second of two with the O’s in Oriole Park meant that the Nationals had to take a late flight to Atlanta, but Martinez said his club was up for the challenge and would be ready for the first of four in SunTrust Park.
“We’ve got to get on that plane, get some rest, and turn around and go play the Braves. I’ve got all the faith in the world these guys will be up for it and ready.”
“It’s a big series coming up,” Adam Eaton acknowledged after the loss to the Orioles.
“Going to Atlanta, four games that are really important to us. We’ve got to put a good foot forward, and it’s not going to make or break our season by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s going to be a good test for us, so we’re looking forward to it.”
“What we’ve done in the last month or two, it’s pretty special,” Yan Gomes said of the Nats’ 31-13 run heading into the series with the division leaders.
“We’ve decided to, you know what, ‘Let’s take care of today,’ tomorrow’s way far ahead, we’ll take care of tomorrow when that comes.”
The Nationals came out swinging in SunTrust Park, taking advantage of a rough outing by Braves’ starter Kyle Wright and piling on runs against Atlanta’s bullpen in what ended up a 13-4 win.
“Like I told you,” Martinez said after the game, “they came out ready to play today and we had Stephen [Strasburg] on the mound, so, I just wanted to come out and play good baseball and like I said, score early, put the pressure on them, and they did that today.”
More important that the one win, perhaps, was the fact that the Nationals knocked Wright out early, and the Braves had to use four relievers (and one position player) to get through the opener of the four-game set.
“Especially when you have a four-game series,” Martinez said. “When you come out and score all those runs, they’ve got to use pitchers for multiple innings, you’ve got to be carefully with your bullpen now, and that’s good for us, and they used a couple guys that they probably didn’t want to use today, so we’ll see what happens in the next couple days.”
Going into the series, the Braves were 28-12 in their previous 40 games going back to June 1st, and they hadn’t lost three in a row since May 28-31, when they dropped two in a row to the Nationals and one to the Detroit Tigers at home.
The loss last night was their fifth straight to Washington in Atlanta, with the Nats outscoring the Braves 45-17 over that stretch.
The win got the Nationals within 5.5 of first in the NL East with three more to go in SunTrust Park. But that’s big picture thinking. Martinez’s squad will just try to go 1-0 again tonight...