Davey Martinez’s club had a long night after their 7-1 win in the series finale with Pittsburgh on Thursday night, leaving the Pirates’ home at 11:25 PM EDT; departing from the airport at 12:45 AM; landing in Chicago at 1:45 AM EDT (or 12:45 AM CT), and arriving their hotel in the Windy City at 2:25 AM EDT (1:25 AM CT) before getting some sleep and then heading over to Wrigley Field for the start of their 2:20 EDT/1:20 CT series opener with the Cubs.
“It’s going to be tough,” Trea Turner told reporters before the team left PNC Park, “... but I think we’ve faced a lot of adversity this year and this is just another test, and we’ve still got 35 games, so tomorrow’s not the end of the world, but we want to come out and put it on them and try to get that first win in Chicago.”
“You’re coming into Wrigley Field and playing a day game, great weather,” Martinez told reporters before the first of three with the Cubbies. “The boys are playing well, and the energy and intensity, they’ll be fine, they really will, these guys turn around and play really well. We thought the same thing when we played 14 innings that one day and had to play a day game and they came back and they were revved up and they played well.”
The Nats responded to a 15-14 loss in that 5-hour, 40-minute, 14-inning marathon with the Brewers that Martinez mentioned, with a 16-8 victory in the series finale with Milwaukee in D.C. last Sunday, and the Nationals came out swinging against the Cubs too, in the opener in Wrigley, taking a 9-0 lead into the ninth in what ended up a 9-3 win.
Ridiculous as the schedule was, and as tired as they may have been the Nats’ skipper didn’t hear any grumbling from his team.
“They never complained,” he said after the eighth win in the last 10 and 14th in 20 games in August.
“They got up today, and they showed up to the ballpark like always, we had breakfast here, and they were — a little less energy this morning, but once we got closer to the game, we hit in the cage, they got ready to play, and you guys saw how they reacted to the day.”
How will the Nationals react on Day 2 in Chicago, when some of that adrenaline might have worn off?