Washington’s 38-20 run since May 24th has them back in the hunt for a postseason berth, and in a three-way tie for the National League’s two Wild Card spots, but five losses in the last ten games, including two of three with the Atlanta Braves, feel like a big deal and a bit of a missed opportunity.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez wasn’t thinking of it that way after the 5-4 loss in extra innings in the series finale with the current NL East leaders on Wednesday.
“We had some opportunities here, we just couldn’t get that one big hit today, but we’ve still got plenty of games with [the Braves] left,” Martinez said.
“We’ve got a day off, a well-deserved day off. Let’s come back — we’re flying out to the West Coast — come back Friday, play the Diamondbacks and try to win Friday. I’m not saying — I wanted to win this game, but like I said, the boys left it all out there today, fell short, we’ll come back, plenty of baseball left, we play these guys a few more times, so let’s just keep playing good baseball.”
Martinez’s squad fought their way back from a 4-1 deficit with a run in the eighth and two in the ninth to tie it on Wednesday, but they had the bases loaded with no one out in the ninth and got a hit from Kurt Suzuki which drove in one run, and the tying run scored on a double play ground ball off Gerardo Parra’s bat, and they left the potential winning run at third base when Brian Dozier struck out to send it to extras.
Sean Doolittle gave up a home run by Josh Donaldson in the top of the tenth, which was the second home run he allowed in two appearances (but the first home runs he’d surrendered since May 24th — a span of 22 appearances and 21 IP), and the Nationals put two on with one out the last time up in the bottom of the tenth inning but couldn’t bring either runner around.
Overall in the third of three with the Braves in D.C., the Nationals were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and five left on base.
“We started swinging the bats late,” Martinez said. “Fought. We fought the last few innings, had a chance to win the game and just fell short.”
“Granted Parra hit the ball hard,” he added of Parra’s double play grounder in the ninth. “I actually think it hit the side of the mound, and kicked back, but you know he drove in a run there, and then we tie the game, we’ve got Doo in the game with a chance to hold them right there and come back and win. Again we come back in the bottom of the tenth and we’ve got probably our best hitter up there and he hits a line drive to end the game. We hit some balls pretty good today, but like I said, it was late in the games and we played hard. These guys played hard and they don’t quit. They keep fighting, they play hard to the end, we just fell short today.”
Will they be able to start another run on the nine-game road trip that starts in Arizona at 9:40 PM tonight, and continues in San Francisco and New York?