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Washington Nationals’ lineup for 2nd of 3 with the Cincinnati Reds in D.C.

Davey Martinez and Co. try to even things up after dropping the opener to the Reds.

San Diego Padres v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Washington’s Nationals went 3-3 on their six-game road trip to San Diego and Seattle, though they struggled to score runs even in their wins. Manager Davey Martinez talked before the start of their three-game series with Cincinnati in D.C. about the run they’ve been on recently, playing competitive baseball even if they aren’t coming out on the winning side as much as they’d like.

“We’ve done a great job of competing over the last week, week and a half, they really have,” Martinez said in his pregame press conference on Friday, “… and just want them to continue to go out there and compete, continue to go out there and have fun.”

“This is a good group, they really are,” he added, “and they’re starting to bond, our young guys are starting to really feel welcome, and that’s a testament to our veteran guys getting them, talking to them, we got some good ones.”

Martinez and his staff are trying to test some players, see how they work with one another, and find out what all their young players are capable of doing at the big league level.

“But I just want them to go out there and compete,” Martinez said. “I told them, I said, lineups are going to be a little different, but I want to see what guys can handle things, and what guys can’t, and so far, so good, I mean, these guys are all willing to do whatever, but they’re going to get an opportunity to play. That’s the one thing I told them, ‘You guys are all going to get an opportunity to play.’ I just want these guys to go out there and play like their hair is on fire every day for the next five weeks and play hard.”

Martinez’s team is 7-16 in August, and they’ve scored more than three runs only once in the last eight games, and the fifth-year skipper said after last night’s 7-3 loss to the Reds, he’d like to see his club score runs early and take pressure off the offense as a group.

“We got to start getting — like I talked about early, get runs early, but really start — I think we’re falling behind a lot, we’re hitting a lot with two strikes,” he said.

“We got to get back on the fastballs and be ready to hit and stay in the middle of the field. When we do that we’re really good. As you can see, Luke [Voit] today, home run to right-center, base hit to right field. And that’s what we talked about. I know [Hitting Coach] Darnell [Coles] talked to him after his first couple at-bats and said, ‘You really got to stay in the middle of the field,’ and he did, and same thing with Joey [Meneses]. Joey is really good when he stays in the middle of the field, so we all got to — the team has got to start doing that consistently.”