You never take winning for granted. Sometimes it looks too easy, but it never is. The Nationals started the season 4-and-0 then the 5th spot in the rotation came up, and the Nationals fell into a funk. By that next day in early April, the Nationals were out of 1st place and could not find their winning ways as the Mets were reeling off an 11-and-1 start to their season. Until last night, the Nationals were only in first place from March 29th to April 3rd and through manager Dave Martinez‘s positivity — the Washington Nationals departed Baltimore last night in 1st place again in the NL East.
After the Nationals excruciating blown-save extra inning one-run loss on April 28th, the Nationals hit rock bottom. Martinez was saying the right things even though he looked stressed and took full responsibility for botching a relief pitching change.
“At some point it will turn around and we will cash-in,” Dave Martinez said the game before after a loss.
“I completely take ownership of that. It will never happen again,” Davey Martinez said about the mistake with thinking a pinch-hitter was officially brought into the game as he called in a right-handed reliever.
“We had our chances of winning,” Martinez said. “I have nothing to say but those guys play with heart. We just have to keep going. I told them all after the game: ‘Keep fighting. It will change.’ ”
The Nationals players had Dave Martinez’s back and they showed their support for him while there were many fans calling the hiring of Martinez a mistake and some wanted him fired. Perhaps Davey taking full responsibility for botching the bullpen call instead of blaming Austin Adams was a positive for his players who have been used to managers who were Teflon and could not admit mistakes.
“It’s nice to have someone who’s honest about everything,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “It’s a novel concept. Like even after the games in here, which obviously haven’t been going our way, it’s keep going, keep playing hard.”
“We’ve got a great manager inside that office that believes in us,” Bryce Harper added. “He pulls on that same rope with us every single day.”
The next day was a new day and winning started on that day at a 21 win against 6 loss pace to get us to where we are today. In the midst of the winning streak on May 1st, Bryce Harper made the Sky Chiefs comment which seemed to fire up the players even more.
If the Nationals win tonight, they will be exactly on the 2016 pace at 33-and-22. Of course that won’t be easy as the Nationals play the Atlanta Braves who the Nats just leapfrogged in the standings, and if the Nationals don’t win tonight, they will find themselves back in 2nd place. Of course the Nationals want to continue their winning ways and players from the DL should be returning for this series. Ryan Madson, Matt Grace, Daniel Murphy, and Brian Goodwin could all be back in this series.
There’s no place like
home the road for the Washington Nationals where they have won 20 of 28 games this season which is a .714 winning percentage.
Again, all the clichés ring true. Play one game at a time and go from there and believe in each other.