Washington’s Nationals played three game at home against the Atlanta Braves earlier this month (September 13-15), but it was a quick stop in the nation’s capital, between trips to Atlanta, Minnesota, St. Louis, and Miami.
Bench coach Chip Hale, talking to reporters before the series opener with the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, said that stretch was a tough one, and the Nats were happy to be back home for eight games in seven days to wrap up the regular season schedule.
“We’re happy to be home and do some early work,” Hale explained. “Get our pitchers out there bunting and hitting and just some stuff that we haven’t been able to do on the road, with a tough schedule.
“You really look at our last road trip, you can almost say it was a five-city road trip including three games here in D.C., so it’s good to just get home, unpack your bag, do your laundry, get some dry cleaning done, and get settled down in our own clubhouse, so that’s a good feeling.”
The Nationals were 7-9 over that stretch, finishing up 43-38 away from the nation’s capital, and the win in last night’s game with the Phillies left them 43-31 in D.C. in 2019, with seven to play heading into today’s doubleheader.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez talked after the first of five with the Phillies about staying focused over the final week of the season, as his club battles for home field advantage in a potential Wild Card matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers, after the two teams separated themselves from the pack in the National League’s race for the two spots in the play-in.
“Let’s just win the first game and we’ll go from there,” Martinez said of the first of two games in today’s doubleheader.
“It’s been that same message almost the whole year, ‘Let’s go 1-0.’ That’s how we got to this point. I don’t want them to think too far ahead, let’s just keep playing good baseball.”
The Nationals took the first game today, dropping the magic number for a Wild Card spot to 2.
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR TONIGHT’S GAME WITH THE PHILLIES:
The last time Max pitched in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Phillies?— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 24, 2019
You know what day it is.#Scherzday // #STAYINTHEFIGHT pic.twitter.com/iuq9XZFpeH