Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo appeared with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan prior to Wednesday’s finale against the Cardinals, getting fans updated on the state of the Nationals.
With his team falling to 10-10, Rizzo is not pleased with the start, but believes the Nationals can get on a hot streak, and more than just one.
“It is probably mediocre,” Rizzo said of the Nationals’ record out of the gate. “I’m not satisfied. Davey (Johnson) is not satisfied. There are ebbs and flows during the season. We will reel off winning streaks this year. The team that puts together the most winning streaks will win the division. That is what we are shooting for.
“I still love this team. I wouldn’t trade this 25-man roster for any other 25-man in the league.”
Rizzo said the pitching was pretty good to start and the offense had its moments, but there was one thing they definitely needed to improve.
“Early on this season, my biggest concern was the defense,” Rizzo said. “I think we need to shore up the defense. The last four or five games, I have seen improvements in the defense.”
“He has shown me since he has been in high school that he is a professional hitter,” Rizzo said. “He has got power and he has a good approach at the plate. We felt Rendon would be a good stopgap until Zimmerman returned. He had two solid spring trainings. He will get his feet wet and next time he comes back he will know what this league is about.”
Rizzo said Zimmerman’s hamstring injury was mild, and they wanted to put him on the disabled list so he wouldn’t have to play in cold weather.
“There are different grades of hamstring pulls,” Rizzo said. “He had the lowest grade of level one. It was just a tweak. He was going to be unavailable for eight to 10 days. Zim had a hammy two years ago, so we are always cautious about that. If this was playoffs he would be playing third and hitting fourth.”
“Our plan is when Zim gets back, Rendon will go down and play every day and get a lot more at-bats under his belt.”
And as the team gets ready for the next 20 games of the season, Rizzo is still optimistic the Nats can get something going.
“Everyone is frustrated,” Rizzo said. “Emotion is good. Guys should be a little angry. At the end of the day, we are all in this together. Hitting, pitching and defense is contagious.”