Trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning yesterday, the Washington Nationals got a leadoff walk from Juan Soto, a double by Josh Bell, which put runners on second and third with no one out, and an RBI single by Nelson Cruz, 4-3, but with Cruz on first base and Bell ninety feet from home at third, Luis García popped out to center, too shallow for a sac fly, and Keibert Ruiz and Yadiel Hernández K’d swinging to end the threat with the tying run on third and the visiting club in still a run behind Atlanta’s Braves.
Lane Thomas singled to start the ninth, and took third on a two-out single by Soto, but Bell’s groundout ended the second straight loss in Truist Park.
Davey Martinez’s club went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position on the day, with nine left on base overall, and as the manager summed it up in his post game press conference, their hitters need to attack pitches in the zone and stop chasing out of it.
“We left seven runners on base,” Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco.
“We had some chances to score. We had a guy on third base with no outs. We got to be a little bit more aggressive in the strike zone and not chase out of the strike zone.”
A pitch Patrick Corbin left up for a two-run home run and a couple runs which followed an error in the fourth, put the Nationals behind early, and they couldn’t come all the way back to beat the Braves.
With their continued struggles against their divisional rivals (7-32 vs the NL East) and their 1-9 record over the last 10 games overall, something needs to change.
“We just got to play better,” Martinez said.
“I don’t worry about other teams. I worry about our team. And there’s a lot of teaching going on right now. And we’re getting some growing pains. But we got to keep going and we got to stay positive with these guys and teach. But we’re gonna be good. … A lot of good things that I see. We’re just not finishing games. But that’ll come. And like I said, we got to stay on them, we got to continue to teach and things will turn around and bounce back.”
Will the Nationals salvage the series finale with the Braves and avoid a sweep and a 10th loss in 11 games?