Click here to watch Nats win #20 on MASN via MLB.TV at 6:30 pm tonight with the rest of us. Just a quick reminder of what we are doing if this is your first time: As a group, we are going to be re-watching all 105 wins from the Nats 2019 season in chronological order at 6:30 pm each night. We will all try to sync up to the same point in the game, and this is a work in progress to maneuver to the same point in the game. Feel free to ask in the comments section where everyone is in the game so you can sync up. Many people are joining in at different points, and most people are not commenting — rather just following along.
The MLB.TV library is unlocked and free to everyone for the 2018-2019 season courtesy of MLB. This win #20 came in the 51st game in the 2019 season, and the Nats took the now infamous 19-31 record into this game.
Most people thought Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez should have been fired after his team lost five straight games from May 19-May 23. The Team played some of the worst baseball they had played since 2010 when the team had little talented and were expected to win. With Anibal Sanchez injured, the Nats turned to Kyle McGowin to stop the bleeding.
With the Marlins coming to D.C. for this series, they were in a six game winning streak and depending on the outcome of that four-game series that wrapped around to Memorial Day, the Marlins could take over 4th place in the NL East and push the Nats to last place.
There was a myriad of calls for manager Dave Martinez to be fired, and this was the noise playing in the background and causing added stress for the coaching staff and players. Because these two NL East teams were 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 if their losing streak went to seven games. This Nationals team had 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 odds were stacked up against the Nats and you know the final outcome of the game was a Nats win so watch the game enjoy what happens. While the Marlins had no illusions of grandeur and low expectations, they were dangerous enough to add to the Nats misery.
Here’s what I wrote at the time:
With the Davey Martinez drama hanging over the team at the time, they were 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 and others 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.
Tonight vs. MIA:
McGowin RHP pic.twitter.com/5sM8v6XV44
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) May 24, 2019