With rumors swirling around the club, and five straight losses leading up to the July 30th trade deadline, these are uncertain times for the Washington Nationals, who suffered the second straight walk-off loss last night, in the series opener with Philadelphia’s Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.
Davey Martinez’s club put four runs on the board in the fourth, with five straight hits in a two-out rally, but they came up empty in the sixth when Ryan Zimmerman lined out on a hard-hit ball to center field with the bases loaded, and they stranded two in the seventh when Josh Harrison lined out to end another opportunity to add to their lead, after the Phillies scored three in the bottom of the sixth to make it a one-run game.
They finally added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to go up, 5-3, but the home team responded in the bottom of the inning when Brad Hand gave up a double and a walk before Andrew McCutchen hit a walk-off, three-run, home run.
How is the club handling all the chatter, and all the losing?
“Look, you know, we’re playing, we’re battling, we’re playing hard, you can see it in the guys,” Martinez told reporters after the loss.
“I mean, we came up today, two line drive outs with guys in scoring position,” the fourth-year manager continued. “Zim pinch hits, hits a bullet to center. J-Hay comes up, man on first and second and hits a bullet to third base, so they’re battling, they’re not giving up.
“I can tell you that, they’re positive, the energy has been good and we’re going to keep battling.”
Overall on the night though, the Nationals finished 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position and 10 left on base in the 6-5 loss, so looking back, in the immediate aftermath, were there missed opportunities in what ended up the fifth straight loss?
“Like I said, we had bases loaded once, Zim comes in and hits a missile to center field, and then J-Hay comes up first and second and hits a bullet to third, you know, any two feet one way or the other, we’ve got a bunch of runs,” Martinez said. “But that’s baseball, that’s how the game goes. So like I said, we’ve got to continue to play hard, these guys are playing hard, they’re not going to give up, and we’re just going to keep battling, things will turn around, those balls will start falling for us, we’ll get the bullpen straightened out and we’ll start winning some games again.”
Will the five-game slide end tonight?