Though the series ended with a disappointing 3-1 loss Wednesday, the Nationals took two of the three from the Miami Marlins this week to move to 45-50 on the year. Washington began the second half by losing back-to-back games to the San Diego Padres but has since won three of four to remain six games back of the New York Mets in the NL East.
“After a dismal start to the second half, we end up 3-3 in this home stand,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said on a Zoom call. “We got a day off and now we head to Baltimore. If we win three out of four games every time, we’re gonna be in great shape so I told the guys, ‘Keep our heads up, have a good day off and we’ll go after it again and go 1-0 on Friday.’”
The Nationals managed to put across just one run Wednesday after scoring 44 combined runs over their previous five games. Seven stranded runners and an 0-for-7 team effort with runners in scoring position spoiled a bounce-back start for Erick Fedde, who allowed only one run in six innings on 84 pitches.
Yet the series win still belongs to the Nationals, inching them closer to the .500 mark with the trade deadline nine days away. Next up are three games against Orioles, owners of the worst record in the AL at 31-64. First baseman Josh Bell said the Nationals aim to win each series, but the greater goal of catching the Mets in the division remains on their minds.
“I think that’s a solid goal for us is to win series,” Bell said. “Davey said something like, we’re trying to make up one game on the Mets a week for the next stretch of games. So it’s on to Baltimore now and we got business to take care of there.”
President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters Tuesday that the club is preparing for trade deadline scenarios as both buyers and sellers. This upcoming stretch, which includes the Baltimore series and four games against the Philadelphia Phillies, will determine which way the front office decides to go.
Of course, this is a Davey Martinez-led clubhouse we’re talking about. His “Go 1-0 every day” mantra still applies, and he’s trying not to let his players get too hung up on trade rumors or getaway day losses. Martinez’s focus is on Friday’s series opener, where Patrick Corbin will take the mound against Jorge López to kick off the Beltway series.
“We gotta go into Friday against Baltimore and just go 1-0 and focus on that game and then go from there,” Martinez said. “We know what’s ahead of us. We just gotta focus on that one game, one-game-at-a-time mentality and win the first game. You gotta win the first game before you can even think about winning a series.”