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Washington Nationals news & notes: Off day quick hits and Nats bits…

Notes and quotes after Monday’s off day…

Fish Issues:

Miami’s four straight wins in the final series of the season with their NL East rivals from Washington, D.C. left them with an 11-2 mark against the Nationals this season, after the Marlins won 15 of 19 games between the (really very different) teams in 2022, so what is it about the Fish that has caused the Nats issues this year?

“Right now it’s their pitching,” Davey Martinez told reporters last weekend.

“Their pitching is very solid. They’ve got a lot of good arms over there, they got a lot of good matchups in their bullpen. We hang in there for a while, and then … the back end of their bullpen is pretty good. We got to keep battling. We played some tough games against them we just got to be able to finish them and have one more run than the other guys at the end of the day.”

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

As for the disappointing showing this past weekend and the loss in the finale on Sunday?

“We did everything we could to win it,” Martinez said of his club rallying from an early deficit to tie things up only to lose it late in the fourth game of four with the Fish.

“And then we did some things not to win the game.”

Those things?

“The errors killed us, the walks killed us today,” he said. “We just got to come back — we got the day off tomorrow, hopefully the guys take it to heart, get some rest, and come back fresh ready to go on Tuesday.”

Gore To Miss Turn:

As of Saturday afternoon, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez was holding open the possibility of left-hander MacKenzie Gore returning from the Bereavement List in time to make his next start on regular rest in the series opener with New York tonight.

“That’s still a question mark,” Martinez told reporters in the nation’s capital.

“At this point I would more tend to push him back later in the week.

“We have already talked to [Patrick] Corbin about — if we have to he’ll start that day, but I’ll definitely have more of a sense tomorrow.”

When the club released their prospective starters for the two-game set in D.C. it was in fact Corbin’s name listed for the opener.

Philadelphia Phillies v. Washington Nationals Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

“When [Gore] comes back, we’ll figure out where he’s at,” Martinez explained. “I want him to go through his routine, and then we’ll figure out where to plop him. If we have to back off a couple guys a little bit, that would be actually a good thing if we can put him in the middle of those guys. But we’ll see how he feels when he gets back.”

As Martinez explained it, with the club trying to carefully manage the workloads of their young starters (especially with Gore coming off an elbow injury last season), a little extra rest is not necessarily a bad thing, and having time to deal with his personal loss was the most important consideration.

“It’s unfortunate, because of what he’s got to go through,” Martinez said. “But it does help us a little bit that we can kind of give him some days off to recover. And when he comes back, we’ll plop him in when we feel like he’s ready.”

Rainey Rehab Update:

Tanner Rainey is (as of Monday morning) eight outings into his rehab as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, but as his manager said in his pregame comments on Sunday, the club is taking a cautious approach to the 30-year-old reliever’s recovery.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

“I talked to him today,” Martinez said on Sunday. “He’s going to continue to throw down there [in the minors] and get a few more outings. He’s feeling better. He was a little achy after his last outing, but he said he thought that was going to be the norm. Which — we all thought that. He’s getting closer, but we want to make sure all that achiness and stuff goes away before he gets an opportunity to come back here.”

Watching Call-ups:

So when the club calls up some of their young, up-and-coming prospects, with their organizational reboot where it is at this point, what is Nats’ manager Davey Martinez watching as he assesses them and tries to get a look at how they’ve developed since he last saw them play in person?

MLB: SEP 03 Marlins at Nationals

“I’m actually looking for improvements from when I saw them last and what they’ve done,” the sixth-year skipper told reporters, “… and I’m actually looking for things I can hone in on to get them prepared for next year as well. Like I said, these guys are a big part of our future, and they’re still developing, so I want to leave them with a game plan moving forward for the winter so when they come to Spring Training they’re ready to go. Next Spring Training is going to be — for me — really awesome, because we’re going to have so many young talented kids and we get to work with them.”