Washington’s Nationals were 1-4 in the first five games of the 60-game 2020 MLB campaign before they beat the Toronto Blue Jays in back-to-back games last Wednesday/Thursday. It’s now been five days since they beat the Jays in the finale of the four-game home and “home” matchup, however, so will they once again have to shake off some rust? Davey Martinez had workouts over the weekend, and the club played instrasquad games, so... will they be ready to take on the New York Mets? Did the time off end up being beneficial?
“I could be honest with you, we’d much rather have been playing,” Martinez said on Sunday afternoon.
“We started — the bats started coming around, we started playing — the last two games started playing fairly well. And then we’ve got this little lull, but we’ve done everything we possibly can to get ready. We played — today we played six innings, yesterday we played five innings, so we’re trying to keep these guys — keep them going, keep their bats going.”
Through seven games, the Nationals, as a group, have a .244 AVG, 10th-best in the majors, a .306 OBP, 19th, .398 SLG, 17th, and 24 runs scored, 27th.
As seriously as they all take the scrimmages against their own teammates, it’s still not close to the real thing, even in pandemic, empty stadium games against other teams.
“It’s tough not having that actual game speed,” Martinez said, “... that extra little adrenaline playing other teams, but the boys are doing good, they have a lot of energy every day, they know that we’re going to play Tuesday, so we need to get ready to play Tuesday. So we’ll see what happens, but I think we’re in a good place.”
After starting the season with two American League East opponents, the Nationals are back at it with an National League East rival, against whom they were just 7-12 last year, (though it ended up all right for the 2019 Nationals), and though it’s different rosters, different season, etc. Same old rivalry. In an empty park. But still, NL East baseball. At 7:05 PM ET.
Also, Juan Soto and Wander Suero were reinstated from the Injured List in advance of the start of the series.