There was a controversial-ish call at home plate that cost the Washington Nationals a run, after they struggled to get much going against Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, and as a team the Nationals went just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and 12 left on base in a close, 4-2 loss, but generally speaking the series opener of this weekend’s three-game set in the nation’s capital last night was all everyone hoped it would be in terms of compelling, competitive baseball.
“I truly believe that we match up really well with them, we do, and we saw that today,” Davey Martinez told reporters last night of the head-to-head matchup with the National League’s best team.
“It was one heck of a game,” he added.
“It was a lot of fun. The boys were into it, and excited, the fans were into it, so let’s come back tomorrow, do it again, and let’s be on top by the end of the game.”
The Nationals did everything they could to try to get something going against Ryu, who held them scoreless through eight innings back in May in LA, and held the Nats off the board through six before giving up one in the seventh last night.
Adam Eaton finally came through with a bases-loaded single for the Nationals’ only hit with RISP on the night, and one run scored on the play before an out at the plate stalled the rally, with Gerardo Parra getting thrown out by left fielder Alex Verdugo on a play that saw Russell Martin effectively block the plate.
“Oh, man, he’s swinging the bat really well, he’s playing really well,” Martinez said after the game when asked about Eaton’s recent performance, which has seen him hit in five straight and go 24 for 78 (.308/.368/.474) with eight doubles, a triple, a home run, seven walks, and 10 Ks in the month of July.
“I hope he continues to get on base and swing the bat the way he’s swinging, cause he’s hitting the baseball, it doesn’t matter left, right, he’s playing good outfield, so we’ve just got to just keep him going.
“I’m telling you right now, all our guys are playing really well. I’m proud of the way they’re playing. You’ve got to remember, we faced a guy that has a 1.70 ERA, and we hit some balls off him pretty good. Verdugo makes an unbelievable play in left field, he don’t make that play, we get a run right there.”
Ryu started the game last night with a 1.76 ERA, which was down to an NL best 1.74 after the game.
“We’ve just got to keep playing good baseball.”
“They’re playing baseball,” he added at another point, “and it’s kind of fun to watch them out there playing the way they’re playing, and we’ll just come back tomorrow, we’ve got another tough task tomorrow, they’ve got [Clayton] Kershaw pitching, so we’ve got to attack him the same way.”
HERE’S THE NATS UPDATED LINEUP FOR GAME 2 OF 3 VS THE DODGERS:
[ed. note - “So, after Davey Martinez said it will be Joe Ross starting in last night’s post game press conference, you might notice Matt Grace’s name digitally penciled into the lineup above, which would mean the Nationals are going with an ‘opener’ for the first time we can remember... actually Grace started a game in 2017, as the Nationals’ PR folks noted on Twitter. As for why it’s not Ross at the start? Martinez will talk to reporters soon and we’ll share any relevant reports on the decision-making in this space.”]