With four straight losses in Philadelphia, and five straight losses overall, the Washington Nationals are reeling as they arrive in Wrigley Field, with a beleaguered bullpen and new-look lineup with Juan Soto and Josh Bell playing for San Diego after this past week’s deadline deal with the Padres.
“They were big parts of the team,” Davey Martinez said, acknowledging the obvious after a 13-1 loss in the finale with the Phillies.
“But, you know for me, it’s about giving guys another opportunity, right? These guys get an opportunity to come up here and play and show what they can do the last two months. Just — I want these guys to go out there and play good, competitive baseball, that’s it, and if they can do that, we’re going to be in some games, we’re going to win some, we’re going to lose some tough games, but we need to be more competitive right from the first pitch on.”
Martinez was asked if some of the players left behind after the second big deadline for the rebooting ballclub were pressing to try to make up for the loss of their middle-of-the-order bats.
“I just think — like I said,” Martinez told reporters, “we haven’t swung the bats that badly till — today was a little different, but you think about who’s pitching, [Aaron] Nola has been pitching well, we hit some balls decent, but we got to just focus on know who you are, one, if you’re a guy that sprays the ball around, stay on the ball and start using the whole field, and get on there for some of the guys in the middle of the lineup that can juice the ball.
“Luke [Voit],” the one major league component to come over along with five prospects in the trade with the Padres, “has come over here and he’s been a professional for the days that he’s here. He’s going out there, he’s playing the game hard, he’s getting his hits, he hits a home run for us, he’s driving in runs when he can. He understands, and some of these guys need to understand, you’re going to get an opportunity to play, right? They all are. And just go out there and play the game, like I said, know who you are and go out there and play the game and have fun.”
With five straight losses in the division, the Nationals are now 9-40 against their NL East rivals this season, so a chance to play an NL Central opponent is likely a welcome one.
“We’re headed to Chicago,” Martinez said late on Sunday afternoon.
“Looking at some of their stuff, they’re actually playing pretty good baseball. So we gotta get ready to come play tomorrow. And like I said, compete and let’s see what happens.”