While no one is happy with the overall record, (17-30 after their win in the first game of the Nationals’ doubleheader with the Rockies on Saturday, 17-31 after a loss in the nightcap; 19-31 here we come), Washington’s manager said there were plenty of things he liked about his ballclub in the first two months, and the way the team has come together as a group has been especially satisfying.
“They all pull for each other no matter what,” Martinez said after the Nationals collected back-to-back wins for the first time since May 1-3 on in the series opener with Colorado.
“If they’re not playing, if they’re playing, they’re all pulling for one another,” he added, “so I love the attitude of this team and how they go about their business every day. They work hard and they play hard, so I can’t complain about how they work and what they’re doing, and it’s nice to see we won a couple games, and let’s see if we can go out there today and repeat what we’ve done the last two days.”
In the second of three with the Rockies in D.C., the Nationals busted out the bats, with 13 runs on 14 hits in a 13-7 win which gave the ballclub it’s first three-game win streak of the year.
“If I can bottle that I’d be a pretty, pretty rich guy. Unfortunately it’s the way the game goes,” he said, acknowledging the nature of the game, and the up-and-down performance of his team’s offense. “But right now the biggest thing for us is the chases. We’re not chasing as much. We just try to get these guys to stay in the zone and not try to do too much and today was a perfect example. The first guy [Rockies’ starter Austin Gomber] we just tried to get him in the zone, and when he did we hit the ball hard, so it was a good first game today and we got to continue to do that for the second game.”
Unfortunately, with the way the game is, Nationals’ hitters put just two runs up on eight hits in a 3-2 loss in the second game, going 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position as a team.
“We just couldn’t get that big hit, you know, with guys on base. That’s part of it,” Martinez said after the loss.
Rockies’ starter Chad Kuhl gave up one run in the first and another in the sixth, and the Nats put runners on, but as Martinez said, didn’t come up with the big hit they needed.
“[Kuhl] had a good two-seamer working,” the fifth-year skipper said, “but I think it was more the slider and the changeup. He had it really going on today, and his changeup is not that much different than his two-seamer, but it was definitely enough to keep us off-balance, and he did it well. The slider was really good. He had good action on his slider and we swung through them a lot.”
How will the Nationals do against Rockies’ left-hander Kyle Freeland today?