With the Marlins coming to D.C., they are enjoying a six game winning streak while the Nationals are mired in an excruciating five game losing streak. These teams square off this weekend and into Memorial Day for a four-game series.
There is a myriad of calls for manager Dave Martinez to be fired, and this is the noise playing in the background and causing added stress for the coaching staff and players. Because these two NL East teams are only separated by 1 ½ games in the standings, it is entirely within the realm of possibilities that the Nationals could be in last place in the NL East tomorrow evening if their losing streak goes to seven games. This Nationals team has not won in so long that they were actually only 7-games below .500 when this losing streak started, and there was optimism after Strasburg’s win over the Cubs last Saturday. They have been close to winning every game of those five games they lost as the Nats were within 1-run in the 8th inning in each of those games which included three blown saves.
To complicate matters further, Kyle McGowin gets the spot start for the Nationals and he is sporting a 6.00 ERA, and he is facing Pablo Lopez who just threw a 1-hit shutout against the Mets on Saturday in a dominating 7.0 inning performance. The Nats will not find it easy as the Marlins are believing that they have the pitching and youthful enthusiasm to beat the Nats like they did a few weeks ago. While the Marlins have no illusions of grandeur and low expectations, they are dangerous enough to add to the Nats misery.
With the Davey Martinez drama hanging over the team, they are the talk of baseball because drama is good for the media. They are drawn to the Nats story like a bear is to honey. For those interested in the less dramatic take, general manager Mike Rizzo might not have an upgrade at this time for Martinez, and if he has not “lost” the clubhouse, there is not the urgency level like you had with Matt Williams and for that matter Dusty Baker who never got an endorsement from Bryce Harper at the time. Most likely there was a split decision on Baker as he had the support of Jayson Werth, but JDub was headed to retirement and his opinion did not matter to the team since he was not going to be a part of it in 2018. The one thing most can agree on is that Davey Martinez was just the wrong pick for manager. While first-time managers who are not highly compensated like Alex Cora, Rocco Baldelli, Mike Shildt and Aaron Boone have all stepped up, it is Martinez and Mickey Callaway who have not. In sports without tie games, there is always going to be a winner and a loser. Right now, the Nationals are on the losing end.
My sense in talking with people in and around the Nationals this afternoon/tonight is that there’s unlikely to be a managerial change before Friday’s game against the Marlins. Doesn’t mean Martinez gets a vote of confidence. Still …
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) May 24, 2019
The Nats have a game tonight, and a manager cannot wave a wand and make this bullpen perform like they are elite, but a manager can put these relievers in the best situations to excel. For instance, on Tuesday, they had both Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey pitch more than one inning each. Both failed in their second inning of work. Was Suero feeling the effects of the extra load from Tuesday when he failed miserably yesterday? Who knows and the same goes in the other direction with Sean Doolittle who had not pitched in 4-days prior to his Wednesday meltdown. Maybe it is the stress that is getting to everyone including the fans who feel vested in the team’s success and need change to feel better about the situation.
What you find after a change is more negativity as most will not agree with the replacement. There is no easy answer to this situation, and it could get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Enjoy Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer, Howie Kendrick, and Doolittle because they could all be playing for other teams if this team does not start winning NOW!
Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, Fox Sports – Florida, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® Sirius 216 XM 183 (Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):
Tonight vs. MIA:
McGowin RHP pic.twitter.com/5sM8v6XV44
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) May 24, 2019