Every game is important to the Washington Nationals now, which simplifies their daily routines. You do not have to think about whom to save for later. You do not have to worry about someone staying healthy for the playoffs. This team started on Saturday at 5 1
How the Nationals Supported For a day-night double-top – the first of two double-heads and five games to play in the next four days – they hoped for better than a split.
They got one, lost, 7-1, in the first game against the Cincinnati Reds before the win, 6-2, in the second. Bryce Harper left the second game after being hit in the shin with a throw. He tried to play the field and could not.
"It hurts," Harper said. "I'll see where I am [Sunday] and go from there."
Assuming pitch did not make Harper permanently available – and manager Dave Martinez did not expect him to need X-rays or an MRI exam – the Nationals consider the Saturday's breakup as a tolerable result. But they have not gained ground in the division and have indeed lost a game against Philadelphia Phillies. If anything summarizes the position they have taken, then it is such a tiring day that ends in a solid all-round victory, as they only maintain their uncomfortable status quo.
The scene in the supposedly disorderly, tumultuous The Paranoid National Clubhouse before the Games consisted of Gio Gonzalez sitting on his locker with a bat in his hand while Tanner Roark and Stephen Strasburg talked about his ability to use it. The players wandered in and out, some sleepier than others, no one was in any particular hurry. The days of double headers are long, and baseball players are masters of energy efficiency.
The efficiency of knocking was never the strength of Gonzalez, and he struggled in different ways in the first game on Saturday. At first he struggled to stay one step ahead of the thugs, then he struggled to put them down. The Nationals stayed behind 4-0 before the end of the second innings. He allowed six runs on 10 strokes and went two, his bouts with the command more visible in the hit than the ways. Gonzalez had held at least five innings in his last five starts.
"It's weird how it works – if you fall back on guys, you should not take too long – if you're standing in front of guys, you should not be out of the game so early," Gonzalez said. "For me, it's a hit or a miss right now. Damn, if you do, damn, if you do not."
This rotation has stabilized lately, so much so that it was the best in the past week ERA of the National League is open. Jeremy Hellickson tried to regain balance in the second game after Gonzalez's fight, but Jose Peraza undermined that effort by throwing Homer the second shot that Hellickson threw.
The problem of falling behind in the second game of a double player Whatever the urgency of this team is, it still can not afford to play Daniel Murphy and Adam Eaton two games in one day. Both are just back in shape after suffering significant leg injuries, and both sat for the second game after the offensive and were themselves unhappy with their accomplishments.
But Michael A. Taylor played because Eaton was not a base hit in the second inning on his first start in five days. After Hellickson had teamed Taylor, Murphy's substitute Wilmer chose Difo Taylor to give the Nationals a lead. They added one run per inning to the fifth when they added two. Only one of her six runs came over a homer. Most of them came with clutch punches, two Difo two-out RBI hits and three hits from Anthony Rendon. Matt Adams beat his 18th homer of the year.
For the fourth time in five games, the Nationals scored at least five runs. For the fourth time in five games her starter held her in the game. Hellickson allowed two runs on four strokes in 5⅔ innings before being pulled to avoid disaster in his third straight through the mission.
But when the Nationals added runs and Hellickson and their bullpen prevented them, a win in the second game did not come tense. So few victories of the Nationals have come this season. Harper was beaten by Austin Brice, and Spencer Kieboom was hit by reliever Jesus Reyes. But Martinez said he did not think it was intentional. Brice apologized after the inning at Harper.
"No hard feelings towards him," Harper said. "Just left him."
But when Ryan Madson hit Joey Votto, the equivalent of Harper the Red, in the eighth, circumstances argued against chance. Madson beat Votto with a fastball in the fleshy part of the leg with two outs and no one on, a combination Votto thought betrayed Madsons intentions. Votto roared in Madson on the way to the first, then to the dugout of the Nationals after the inning. Votto did not turn to the reporters after the match.
"I did not want to beat him," Madson said. "I hope he's fine."
Adams, who had owned most of Votto's ranting when he stood next to him in first base, would say nothing about it after the game. The tensions spilled over into more than screaming and shouting, and the Nationals seemed determined to prevent an escalation. Who knows what a brawl might have done to their roster, which is just getting into shape.
In this late situation, as in Harper's leg – as in the entire team day – the Nationals could have hoped for better results. But at least in the immediate aftermath it seems like they are very happy that it did not go any worse.