The Nationals were officially eliminated from the National League wild card race despite an impressive 6-0 win over the New York Mets Saturday, and the club’s most tenured player reacted to the news.
The Cardinals defeated the Giants 5-4 to get to 86 wins and secure the second wild card spot as of Saturday night. The best the Nats could do this season is 85 wins.
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who contributed a single and a run scored in Saturday’s victory, spoke about his feelings after seeing the Atlanta Braves win the division and knowing the Nats are no longer eligible for the wild card.
“Obviously, the goal is to win the division and make the postseason,” Zimmerman said. “So, yeah, it’s not what you want to do, but can’t win every year. But another good day, we’ve been playing good baseball the last two or three weeks. We are going to finish the season strong. A lot of good things happened this year, obviously not what we wanted to have happen, but can’t do it every year.”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez echoed Zimmerman’s thoughts about the disappointment of the season as a whole, but looked at the positives from Saturday’s game as something to build upon.
“Well, it stinks. But we still got seven more games,” Martinez said. “These guys don’t quit, and they showed it today. They came out ready to play today. We had a busy day. Lot of us have been here since 6:30 a.m. this morning, and they came out ready to play. Trea (Turner) got us started with the two-run homer, and we tacked on some runs. So I’m proud of the guys, and they are not going to quit. We’re going to finish this season out and, hopefully, get five or six more wins - maybe seven, who knows? - and go from there.”
Martinez had talked pregame about “little things” in baseball and how he wanted to work this offseason and spring training on doing the “little things” better come 2019. Zimmerman was asked after the game if he agreed with that critique.
“That’s a tough question right now. I don’t know. Baseball is a game of little things,” Zimmerman said. “Moving runners, making plays, taking the extra base, things like that. It’s nothing new. Obviously, you have to do those correctly, but I think there’s a lot more that goes into that than ... you could do those things right and still not win games. I think health is a big thing. Honestly, players playing like they should. So yeah, little things do add up, but it’s not everything.”
Catcher Matt Wieters blasted a three-run shot to put the game away in the sixth inning. He spoke postgame about how injuries can change a club’s season, as well. But, he said, good teams still have to find a way to adapt when they lose players during the year.
“Nobody is going to stay the whole season with the same 25 guys you broke camp with, so ...” Wieters said. “Injuries are something you never want to go through, and we had our share of them. But it doesn’t change going out there and winning games. We just didn’t win enough games this year.”