Nationals

Nationals

WASHINGTON -- Adam Eaton’s shouted expletive rang through empty Nationals Park on Monday night after his groundout ended the game.

Starlin Castro dispatched a shout of dissatisfaction himself earlier in the game, when he was up in the bottom of the seventh with two runners on base and flew out to shallow right field.

The Nationals lost 4-1 Monday because Aníbal Sánchez allowed four solo home runs, two running mistakes cut down would-be rallies and the offense left nine runners on base. They are now 1-3, or, in a 162-game season, 3-8. Juan Soto is still not back. Stephen Strasburg’s ability to make his next start is still in doubt. This is not panic. It’s also not a good start.

“The game’s fast up here, so you’re constantly playing catch up,” Davey Martinez said. “These guys, it’s going to take them a few games, but as you can see, [Monday] swung the bats well. The game is definitely a lot faster now. They’re competing.... We’ve just got to clean it up a little bit.”

Eric Thames and Victor Robles made baserunning mistakes Monday. Thames should have gone halfway on a deep fly ball to center field. Instead, he went back to the bag to tag up. Robles started moving on a line drive which was caught. He was instantly doubled off.

“We need to tighten that up,” Martinez said.

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He did note they did not make a defensive error Monday. That was a small, small grace in an otherwise long day.

Martinez started working his way through Monday’s realities when learning about the coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins. He needed to check on Juan Soto’s test results -- a single negative, which is progress, but still not enough for a return -- and Stephen Strasburg’s throwing. Strasburg threw lightly on Monday. His ability to make his next start will be further determined Tuesday. The Nationals want to see him go through his full routine.

By the time the game started, Martinez’s day was already filled with emotions and management. Nine innings, even a losing nine, at least offered a three-hour distraction before returning to everything else going on.

“Once the game starts, you get so involved in the game, you kind of forget about everything,” Martinez said. “Then all of a sudden the game’s over, sit in the office, I don’t fall asleep until 2, 3 in the morning wondering what’s going to happen the next day. That’s kind of where we’re at.”

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