The Nationals are still losing and frustrations are mounting.
Following last night's familiar 6-2 loss to the New York Mets, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo joined the Sports Junkies for his usual Wednesday morning appearance on the show.
"It's the worst we’ve played probably since we’ve come off an expansion-type of a roster," Rizzo said on the Junkies.
After last night's loss, the Nats are 16-25, nine games under .500. According to NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas, the last time the Nats have had this dismal of a record was Sept. 8, 2011.
Despite all of that, Rizzo's expectations of winning have not changed.
"Expectations are high," Rizzo said. "I'm not settling on lowering my expectations. My expectations are still: win this division, the National League East, which is a tough division, it’s gonna be nip and tuck the whole way, and go deep in the playoffs. I think we have the roster, when healthy, to do so and I think we have the personnel to be a really competitive team in the National League."
In addition to being nine games under .500, the Nationals have a chronic issue of dropping the first game of a series. They are 2-12 in series openers.
"First days of series are often the busiest day of the preparation for that series," Rizzo said. "If you don’t win the first game of the series, it obviously curtails your chances of winning the series and, you know, that’s our goal, to win each and every series."
When asked if the team has had a "kick in the butt" kind of meeting, Rizzo said they have.
"I know they had a team meeting just recently in Milwaukee and I was around and I did not attend the meeting, purposely didn’t attend the meeting," Rizzo said. "That’s their clubhouse and that’s their sanctum and they’ve got to figure it out between themselves and you know I'm there for support, I'm always around, they know where to find me. I'm very accessible, and I communicate with the players a lot, but those type of things are best laid for the managers and the coaching staff and the players to kind of figure it out for themselves.”
In terms of generating any type of offense, the Nationals are in the top three for strikeouts as a team.
"The strikeout number is alarming," Rizzo said.
However, there may be a silver lining on the horizon. The Nats just got Anthony Rendon back from the IL and Trea Turner is rehabbing his broken finger at shortstop for the Potomac Nationals. Rizzo says he expects the team to re-evaluate Turner on Thursday.
"To me, it's a championship caliber roster when we’re healthy and when we’re playing well and we just haven’t played well throughout the early portion of the season this year and we’ve got to find ways to win until we get all of our guys back," Rizzo said.
The Nationals hope to take game No. 2 of the Mets series Wednesday night with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch at home.
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