By Rich Dubroff
It’s been a day short of nine months since the San Francisco Giants last played in Washington, and the painful memories of last October’s Division Series should be long gone.
For manager Matt Williams, he started putting it behind him when the series ended in San Francisco on Oct. 7.
“That happens almost immediately because the work is never done,” Williams said. “When your season comes to an end, unless you’re the last one standing, it comes to an end very abruptly. At that point, you start looking forward to the next. There’s a lot of work to do at that point to be prepared for spring training and the start of the games. You put it behind you, just we like we did last night, just like we will today regardless of whether we win or lose, we have another one tomorrow, and that work never stops.”
It’s not only the first meeting in Washington, it’s the first time the teams have played each other since last October. The Nationals travel to San Francisco for four games on Aug. 13-16.
While the Giants have lost three straight, and trail the Dodgers by three games in the NL West, Williams knows their recent history.
“They’re the world champions,” Williams said. “They come with experience. They come into this series with some young players who are doing very well. They also coming missing one of their key pieces in Hunter [Pence].”
Pence, who is on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist, isn’t the only big name not here. Tim Hudson, who started the memorable Game 2 is also on the DL with a strained right shoulder.
“We get Jake [Peavy]. He’s coming off the disabled list. The last time we saw him was the playoff game. We know what he brings to the table. Hopefully, we can get out there and do some things today to beat them,” Williams said.
This weekend, the Giants start Peavy, who hasn’t pitched since Apr. 17, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong. Those three started Games 1, 3 and 4 last October.
“They’re a solid team all the way around. They pitch well, they don’t make many mistakes. They do a good job of manufacturing offensively. That formula works, and it’s evident that the way that they play and the success that they’ve had, works. For us, it’s about taking advantage of any opportunity we get today, and in this series as well,” Williams said.
There shouldn’t be any hangover from last year.
“I don’t know if we’ve thought about it. Once you get back to the next season, it’s about that grind of that particular season. We certainly want to get back there and give it another go. That’s what we want. We’re not alone. There’s 30 teams out there that want to get back there and give it another go,” Williams said.
NOTES: Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) and Anthony Rendon (quad strain) are both “progressing,” according to Williams.
“Zim’s not quite running yet, but he’s doing other things that he needs to do to get prepared. Once that pain gets out of there, he’ll be able to get running on the basepaths and move that process along a little bit.”
Rendon, who won’t be eligible to come off the disabled list until next Thursday, and isn’t expected to play until after the All-Star break is hitting and throwing.
“It’s going to take some time to heal that one up and get ready to go again,” Williams said.
Aaron Barrett, who pitched an inning for Potomac on Wednesday, is scheduled to pitch an inning on Saturday, but Williams isn’t sure where.