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Eric Thames reaches boiling point near end of frustrating 2020 campaign for Nationals’ first baseman...

Eric Thames couldn’t catch a low throw from Carter Kieboom late in Sunday’s game in Miami, and it cost the Nationals the game...

Max Scherzer got the ground ball he needed out of Starling Marte with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the sixth on Sunday afternoon, and Carter Kieboom fielded the ball cleanly, but the throw to first short-hopped first baseman Eric Thames, and came out of his glove. The go-ahead run scored on the play, and Thames, close to the end of a frustrating season, boiled over when he spoke to reporters after the 2-1 loss.

Asked how many times he’d expect to make that play, Thames said, “Every single time.”

He took a deep breath, and the 33-year-old slugger exhaled and added, “Yep. Just missed it.”

Though the answer was obviously a 10 out of 10, a reporter asked where his frustration level was at this point, in the last week of a 60-game COVID campaign that didn’t go the way the first base or his club wanted it to go. Thames answered honestly, and passionately.

“It’s very frustrating living life as it is now,” he said. “It’s not just on the field, but it’s off the field, you can’t do anything, you’re stuck in your room, you’re eating the same meals every day, you’re using your microwave more than ever, it’s just very, very frustrating. The natural energy is not there. Yeah, your teammates pick you up, your teammates are playing for each other, but just the games, it’s a whole different vibe now. For the guys that are doing really well, like awesome, pitchers, hitters, defensively all of that, but it’s a grind. I mean, you don’t have that natural like boost, like — for me at the plate, like I feel like if I just relax, my hands fly — can hit at any pitch in the zone depending on the pitcher and situation and stuff like that, but now it’s like I have to kind of amp myself up to kind of be able to catch up to velo and then I start swinging at everything, and it’s just like a constant chase.

“It’s definitely a grind ... it’s a grind. That’s all I’m going to say. Holy cow, oh, man. Yeah.”

There is a week left though, and there are games to be played, so what’s the focus as the club wraps up his schedule, and Thames wraps up his first year in D.C. after signing on to play for the defending World Series champs this past winter.

“We’re all trying to finish strong,” he said.

“Playoff chances pretty bleak right now, but still we have a week left, I think nine games in seven days, or six, I don’t know.

“But yeah, it’s just one of those things we’ve got to finish strong. It wasn’t a desirable year for anybody in terms of as a team collectively, so all we can do is just finish strong.”

Thames, who signed a 1-year/$4M contract with the Nationals this winter, has put up three home runs, five doubles, and a .208/.296/.325 line.

He has a $4M mutual option for 2021, or a $1M buyout. Will the Nationals take the approach that everything this season is anomalous and give Thames another shot in what they all are hoping will be a normal 162-game season next year?