Washington lost the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday to the New York Mets. Despite the loss, the team showed immense heart during the contest, though the final scoreline might suggest otherwise.
The Nationals entered the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader vs. the Mets in a bad way, going 2-8 over the last 10 games and sitting at dead last in the NL East, 15.5 games behind the division lead.
The season already looked like a foregone conclusion, with Washington scrapping the rest of the 2021 campaign and looking to the future with their trade deadline moves. Stocking up on prospect talent and exporting their veteran core was the name of the game for Anthony Rizzo and company, which made him look like a genius given the supreme talent the new guys have shown since arriving in D.C. The rebuild might not take as long as initially expected.
By the end of the second inning on Saturday, it was 6-0 Mets thanks to a barrage of mostly singles and sacrifice flies. Michael Conforto’s two-run homer made the scoreline 9-0.
Then, the Nats showed life.
Perhaps the team’s heart was sparked by Davey Martinez in the top of the second when Washington was down 6-0.
Umpires ruled that Pete Alonso did not rotate fully enough for a strike call on a check swing. Martinez took issue and reamed out the first base umpire from his seat in the dugout, unable to move well because of a pre-scheduled foot procedure he underwent earlier this week. The umps tossed Martinez, making him get on his crutches and hobble into the locker room. In retrospect, that might've stoked a fire among the Nats' clubhouse for the remainder of the game. Martinez has a knack for doing that from time to time.
A bases-loaded walk to Andrew Stevenson put Washington on the board for the first time in the bottom of the fourth inning. Two sacrifice flies in that inning would cut the lead by a third in total, 9-3 Mets heading into the fifth. It was all the Nats needed to bring their bats alive.
Alcides Escobar doubled, Juan Soto singled, Stevenson hit a two-run shot and out of nowhere, the game was tied 9-9 in the bottom of the seventh.
Francisco Lindor would hit an upper-deck, two-run bomb in the top of the ninth to put New York back up 11-9, which would be the final score. Washington lost, as they were expected to do when they were down by nine.
Despite the result, the Nats showed something that fans have come to expect from a Davey Martinez-led ball club: heart.In a season that is crawling to a painfully slow close, the Nats could’ve done the easy thing and given up. That’s not in their DNA and it certainly isn’t a part of Martinez’s philosophy.
Though Washington’s season might be lost, Saturday’s game is a good sign for fans. Young talent was on full display, making for a bright future in the nation’s capital. More than that, the gumption displayed by the Curly W’s says a lot about the squad, from front office to bat boys.