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Washington Nationals’ lineup for 1st of 2 with the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, FL...

They’re playing two in Dunedin, FL, this week instead of in Toronto. Should be interesting...

St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Losses in two of three with the New York Mets in Citi Field left the Washington Nationals 8-11 after 19 games, 2.0 games back in the NL East. While it’s, obviously, not an ideal start, Davey Martinez, the Nationals’ skipper, said his club needs to just keep grinding and trying to work through their early-season struggles.

“We just got to keep — like I say every day, we got to focus on going 1-0 Tuesday,” Martinez said after the second shutout loss in Citi Field on Sunday, which was their fifth shutout loss in the first 19 games.

“We’re missing some key parts, one in our lineup and one a starting pitcher,” he added.

“Just keep playing hard. The effort has been there. That’s one thing I can say about the boys, they’re playing hard.

“We had our chances today, like I said, we just couldn’t get the ball to drop.”

“Keep playing hard. The boys are playing hard. So, we’ll start putting some streaks together and start winning some games.”

Both Martinez and left fielder Kyle Schwarber noted that the Nationals made solid contact in the finale with the Mets, though the pitches they connected on didn’t fall in for hits.

“I think that it’s part of the game,” Schwarber said after an 0 for 4 day in which he did line one to deep center with runners on, only to have former Chicago Cubs’ teammate Albert Almora, Jr. rob him with a leaping catch. “It’s not a fun part of the game just for the fact of you go through your routine and process and you’re leading up to everything for a good at bat and to put your best possible swing on the baseball, and once the ball leaves your bat it’s out of your control. The only thing you control is from your load to the contact.

“After that it’s free rein. So it definitely is frustrating but it’s part of this game and you know what, I think that we’ll keep doing that.

“We’ll keep taking those hard-hit baseballs and I think those will start landing here more.”

“We hit some balls good,” Martinez said.

“We couldn’t get no balls to fall. Schwarber had some good at bats, I thought Josh Bell had some good at bats, lined out a couple times. Yan [Gomes] had some good at bats. Nothing fell for us.”

Will they fall in Dunedin, FL, where the Nationals play the next two with the Toronto Blue Jays?

“We got to stick with it, we’ve got to keep swinging the bats,” the manager added. “I saw some positives in our at bats today, like I said, we hit some balls hard. So, we got to keep playing hard and come back, we’ve got a day off tomorrow and come back Tuesday.”