FiveThirtyEight.com’s 2020 MLB Predictions now have the Washington Nationals with less than 1% chance of making it to the postseason, but there are still a week-plus of games to play in the regular season, so how do the defending World Series champs stay motivated over the final eleven contests?
“We’re still statistically in it,” Josh Harrison said last night, “... and baseball is a game you have to show up every day.
“I’ve been on both sides,” the veteran infielder added.
“Playoff teams, teams that are fighting down to the last day, baseball is unpredictable, anything can happen, so you got to show up every day and just keep plugging away.”
Even knowing that they won’t be playing in October, however, manager Davey Martinez said last night that there are plenty of reasons to keep fighting and finish strong.
“For me,” Martinez explained, “I’ve always said this as a player and even — there is an All-Star game typically in July, and that’s great, but I tell a lot of players, I say you know consider yourselves making that end of the season All-Star game. That’s what you play for to finish the season.
“I’ve never been a very quick starter, and I always prided myself on finishing the season strong, as strong as I could possibly do.
“It eases the winter a little bit, and you go back, you can relax and you get ready for Spring, so I always tell these guys, regardless of where we’re at, you got to make a push, you got to push, you got to keep playing hard. We got to finish up strong. You need to finish up strong.
“You go in the winter and you feel good about yourself and you get ready, get ready for Spring Training.”
There’s also the idea of playing a spoiler role, which is a small consolation, or at least trying to uphold the integrity of the competition between teams that are in the postseason mix.
“I think we’re still one of those teams that’s never going to — not going give up until we’re really out of it,” Yan Gomes told reporters yesterday.
“I think we showed that last year, but I don’t know, if you want to call it a spoiler’s role I think we’ll take that and make everybody work for it.”