Davey Martinez’s squad had plenty of opportunities to take the series opener with Kansas City’s Royals, but the Nationals went 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position on the night and 19 left on base in what ended up a 7-4 extra innings loss in Washington, D.C.
“Couldn’t get hits in a big moment,” Martinez said after a four-game win streak was snapped in the loss.
“We just couldn’t get that hit today. Once again though, I’m proud of the boys for fighting.
“I mean, we were down, to come back and fight and we had our opportunities all night and just couldn’t capitalize.”
Was the hitters’ approach in the at bats where they had opportunities and didn’t come up with a hit an issue for the Nats’ manager?
“A little bit,” the second-year skipper told reporters.
“Like I’ve said, we’ve been so good at staying in the middle of the field. We had one instance where we just needed a fly ball. Sac fly would have won the game, we just couldn’t do that.
“So, but you know what, like I said, they played well.”
There were some reasons for concern coming out of the game. Anthony Rendon, who has been nursing hamstring and quad issues in his left leg, left the matchup late and won’t be going to the All-Star Game so he can rest up, and Ryan Zimmerman, who missed a total of 55 games dealing with plantar fasciitis, was clearly limping around the basepaths towards the end of the game as he scored the tying run in the ninth.
Rendon has continued to play in spite of the issues he’s dealing with and Martinez said he and the third baseman have communicated and worked to make sure he’s good to go and not risking further damage when he was asked why they haven’t given the infielder a day off.
“I talk to him all the time,” Martinez said. “He doesn’t want the day off. He doesn’t want to have to pinch hit. He likes playing. We talk about this all the time.”
“It’s bothering him, it really is,” the manager added, “because he just wants to play and he wants to go full out, and at this point in time we need him on the field.”
As for Zimmerman? What was the level of concern with the veteran first baseman?
“He ran around a lot today,” Martinez explained, “... but noticeably when he went to try to score you could see it.”
“I have to see how he feels tomorrow,” Martinez said at another point, “because he was limping around pretty good, so we’ll see how he feels.”
Zimmerman said it was just more of what he’s been dealing with since late April.
“I think obviously I’m going to play games and [when I] play games where I have to run as much as I did it’s going to get sore,” Zimmerman explained, “but I think that’s kind of what happened on rehab games, and then we treat it and do what we do every night and it gets back to basically ground zero and we go from there.”
Rendon, in spite of his issues, is back in the lineup today. Zimmerman is getting a day off.
Oh, and if you haven’t heard the Nats are wearing Montreal Expos uniforms today!