Last night’s win was the Washington Nationals’ fifth straight and seventh in the last nine, as the club tries to climb their way up the standings in the NL East to get back into the race for a postseason berth. It didn’t start well for the Nationals this season, but that’s not surprising considering they haven’t gotten off to a good start in any of the last three seasons. It isn’t a desire to recreate what happened in 2019, when they started 19-31, went 74-38 the rest of the way, and won it all in the end, that’s for sure.
“I mean, we don’t try to do it I guess is the best way to put it,” Ryan Zimmerman said of the team’s slow starts. “We’ve dealt — like a lot of teams — with a lot of injuries, with the COVID stuff at the beginning, none of those are excuses or reasons why we started slow, but it seems like [Patrick] Corbin is really starting to come into his own after missing the first week and a half or two weeks, and [Erick] Fedde is now back from his COVID thing or whatever it was, and he’s thrown the ball great. We’re just kind of getting into a rhythm a little bit.
“The offense is still not clicking on all cylinders, but we’ve been grinding out at bats a little bit better. So it’s a group that a lot of us have been through something like this, it’s not ideal, it’s not what we try to do, but you can’t do anything about the first however many games we played, you can only kind of do what you can with the games that are in the future, and if we keep playing good baseball, we feel like we have a good team.”
It hasn’t looked like it at times this season, but during the recent run, you’ve seen signs.
“Yeah, I mean, this team knows what it takes, we’ve been on the big stage and everything,” Yan Gomes said after hitting the walk-off winner in last night’s 1-0 win over the NL East’s 1st place New York Mets, “and we know kind of the times to try to get hot. We’re playing really good baseball right now, our pitchers are doing a tremendous job, and it’s just — sometimes one hit does it, but we would love to maybe not wait until the ninth inning to do that, but I’ve said it before, and we’ve all said it, we’re going to go as far as our pitchers take us, and they’ve done a tremendous job.”
They have been tremendous.
“In 13 games dating to June 4, Washington’s starting rotation leads Major League Baseball with a 1.07 ERA (8 ER/67.1 IP),” the Nationals wrote in their post game notes after last night’s win.
“The Nationals’ staff has now recorded eight straight games allowing two earned runs or fewer, the longest streak in the Majors this season.”
Manager Davey Martinez said a few weeks back it was go-time for his struggling team, and they’ve responded.
“Every win is exciting right now, and we’re playing good baseball, you know, we really are, we’re playing really good,” Martinez told reporters last night.
“Like I said, guys are coming out of the bullpen, throwing strikes. Our starting pitching — what an unbelievable job Fedde did for us today. We’re just playing good defense.
“We just got to keep it going, like I told the boys, one day at a time, let’s go 1-0 every day, And we’ll be where we need to be. That’s the beauty of this game.
“When you play 162 games, you’re going to win some games like this, you’re going to lose some games, but it feels really good to come out on top after the way we played tonight.”
Does Martinez’s 1-0 every day mantra change to 2-0 when the club has a doubleheader like they do today?
Of course not.
“No, we go 1-0 and win the first one, always nice to win the first one going into the second one. 2-0 would be nice though.”