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Washington Nationals’ tough stretch starts with 7-3 loss to New York Mets

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Washington’s Nationals are .500 or better against three of the other four NL East teams. Guess which one they’re 6-11 against so far?

MLB: SEP 02 Mets at Nationals Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After winning four in a row, nine of 10, 11 of 13, 16 of 19, 19 of 24, and 58 of 85 going into the series opener with the New York Mets in Washington, D.C. on Monday afternoon, second-year Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said he was confident about his club’s chances no matter who they were playing at this point.

“I feel pretty good about anybody, really,” he said. “I mean I don’t focus on any other team but the Nationals, we just have to come out and play good baseball. They’re going to be a tough opponent, we know that but just keep playing the way we’re playing and things will work out.”

The Nationals were headed into a tough stretch, however, with the Mets, Atlanta Braves (twice), Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Cleveland Indians lined up in September, with six of the seven teams above .500 and in postseason races in their respective divisions.

“We’ve said this all along, during the course of the season, every team is a major league baseball team, every one,” Martinez said, “so at any given day, they come out to play, and they want to beat you. So our focus is coming out there and playing good baseball. We’ve got good starting pitching, our defense has been good, running the bases well, we’re hitting the ball, we’re walking, we’re doing all the things that we’re supposed to be doing, so just keep it going, and right now just look ahead, don’t look behind, just look ahead, and focus on the here and now and let’s keep it going.”

Heading into the first of three with the Mets in D.C., the second-year skipper said his club was aware of how important every game is going forward.

“They’re getting an understanding that every game matters, and we’re playing to win every game,” Martinez said, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.

“So, getting into the playoffs, there’s no let-ups. … That does help, because there’s no lull. Even though for me, I’d like for there to be a lull toward the end there to get some guys some days off, but they know what they’re playing for. And they’re excited about getting to where we want to get to.”

While they’ve dominated the Marlins this year (13-3), outplayed the Phillies (9-5), and are 6-6 against the division-leading Braves, with seven to play, four in SunTrust Park later this week, and three more in D.C. September 13th-15th, the Mets have caused the Nats trouble, with 10 wins in 16 games with the Nationals going into this week’s matchup in the nation’s capital.

Eight of those ten wins did, however, come prior to the turning point in the Nationals’ 2019 campaign which began after a four-game sweep for the home team in Citi Field, though with the 7-3 loss on Monday, the Mets have won three of the last four with the Nats as well.

Martinez was asked after the series opening loss what he made of the Nationals’ struggles against the Mets this season.

“You know what,” he said. “I have no idea, but you’ve got to forget about today, and come back tomorrow and play again tomorrow, and hopefully score early like we’ve been doing, and score first and go from there.”

Noah Syndergaard played a big part in the Nationals’ rough day at the plate on Monday, throwing seven scoreless innings in a bounce-back appearance after what was his worst start in the majors in his previous outing on the road against the Chicago Cubs.

“[Syndergaard] was real good,” Martinez said. “Real good. He got us to chase the ball up, threw a lot more breaking balls than I’ve seen him throw before, so you know what, he’s good, and we’ve got to come back tomorrow and face another good pitcher and just get the ball in the strike zone.”

Jacob deGrom starts in the second game of the series, with Max Scherzer on the mound for the home team tonight.