It has been a long way to claw back to the .500 mark for these Washington Nationals pulling off the rare feat of going from 12-games under .500 back to the even mark before the All-Star break. The last time the Nats saw .500 before this game was on April 23rd. For the second straight game, Matt Adams hit a 3-run home run to get his team back into the game. Adams connected in the 6th inning with 2-outs with his team trailing 4-1. Two batters after the Adams’ home run it was Victor Robles blasting the game winning two run home run.
“There’s no quit,” manager Dave Martinez said. “These guys are always staying in the fight. If you watch our games all year long, there was always that fight — that extra push.”
The last team to go from 12-games under .500 and back to even before July 1st was the 2009 Colorado Rockies. In fact, the 2019 Nationals are only the 7th team in NL history to pull off that feat. When the Rockies did it in 2009, they also made it to the postseason!
This Nats team believed in themselves, and got healthy and stayed in the fight. How easy would it have been to just give up and go into “sell mode” as so many were almost clamoring for. As good teams do, they particularly take advantage of the bad teams, and especially the teams with losing records. The June schedule matched the Nats with the Marlins, and the team from D.C. swept them. Stephen Strasburg hit a rough patch in the third inning which included a poor fielding play by Adam Eaton who misplayed a bloop single into a 2-RBI double which turned into three runs, but Strasburg persevered. The Eaton botch was originally ruled an error which would have saved Strasburg an earned run, but the official scorer reversed course and ruled it as a double. Strasburg gave up a fourth run, and then like last night, his offense exploded on the opposing starting pitcher in the 6th inning when the other pitcher was cruising. The Nats hung a tough loss on Marlins’ starter Sandy Alcantara who was rolling as he had 2-outs when Adams obliterated the baseball down the rightifeld line. Sometimes that is all it takes — one misplaced pitch. Adams did not miss it, and Robles put the bow on the present to their starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, who was credited with the win. He pitched 7.0 full innings on 111 total pitches with those four earned runs.
“Just focusing on going one for one that day,” Adams said about only focusing on one game at a time. “Getting the one, carrying it over, and keeping the momentum rolling on to the next day.”
Once again, Trea Turner was an igniter in the game with at least two hits, and we say at least two hits because his third hit was initially ruled an error. Turner got that sixth inning going with a single and one of this two stolen bases on the night. Juan Soto and Kurt Suzuki had solo home runs, and Adam Eaton added an RBI single. Brian Dozier had two doubles in the game raising his OPS to .743. In each of the games in this series, a Nats player smashed a key 3-run homer, and Matt Adams had two of those and Trea Turner had the other. Somewhere Earl Weaver is smiling at Dave Martinez’s team.
With this win, the team is 21-9 since May 24th which is .700 baseball, and the Nats find themselves 7.0 games from first place and 2 ½ games from the Wild Card with 82 games remaining in the regular season.
The Nationals will fly to Detroit tonight and given the length of this game the team will arrive in Detroit close to 3:00 AM, and the good news for the team is that this is a happy flight!
UPDATE: The team’s Delta charter flight took off at exactly midnight and landed at 2:41 am in Detroit. Figure from the tarmac to the team hotel, they will get to bed at around 3:30 am.