What are we doing, Washington Nationals? Another year, another sluggish start. Is there something which precludes you from getting out of the gate fast? Are your contracts written with heavy incentives for lackluster play in the first months of the season? Seriously, what can we attribute these brutal starts to under the Davey Martinez regime?
After losing five of six games to the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, the Nationals dropped the series opener to the Atlanta Braves before taking two games. With a chance to win the series on get-a-way day the Nationals laid a goose egg. Thankfully, they weren’t shut out for the eighth time in 53 games, though they were held to just one hit through seven innings. One hit!
This team is last in the Majors at scoring runners from third base with one out, hitting a Majors worst .143 with the bases loaded, and struggles to do the fundamental necessities needed to score runs in this league. The go 1-0 today mantra is going to have to go back into effect, and manager Davey Martinez will need to handle games as such moving forward for this team to go anywhere this season.
Nationals manager Davey Martinez will have to get more aggressive in his decision making with his team struggling to score runs.
We’ve heard the cliches as long as we have been following professional sports. Managerial decisions only affect a small portion of each game’s outcome. If a professional athlete needs extra motivation to perform at the game’s highest level, there is an issue.
Just saying it’s “go time”, isn’t going to make a difference. The Nationals need to start executing, with more detail on the little things on a daily basis. On an inning-by-inning basis. Advancing runners with productive outs, pitchers’ getting sacrifice bunts down, playing for one run when the game situation dictates such.
This also means Martinez needs to manage aggressively. The Victor Robles and Trea Turner stolen bases in the top of the ninth inning in game three of the Braves series were perfect. No more of this batting the pitcher eighth in the batting order. More times than not the eighth spot has come up with runners in scoring position, than the ninth spot getting on base ahead of Turner and Juan Soto.
So often the Nationals have been playing from behind, failing to score any runs before the sixth inning in 17 of their 53 games. Another remarkable statistic. They need to be implementing the hit and run, double stealing, whatever it takes to push runners across the plate.
Yeah, it’s “go time” alright. Time to translate the lingo into improved decision making on the field.