CHICAGO - These dramatic comeback wins are nice and all, but have the Nationals thought about jumping out to an early lead and coasting to an easy win?
Is that something that might be in the cards instead of these chaotic, nail-biting, hair-pulling finishes?
“No, I think we kind of like this,” Adam LaRoche said. “We perfected it at times last year. So just keep it going.”
All right then.
For the second time in as many games, the Nats battled back from a late deficit and earned an exciting win by scratching across runs against the Cubs bullpen. On opening day, it was one run in the eighth to tie the game and one in the ninth to win it. Today, it was five runs on eight straight hits in the eighth inning that carried the Nats to a 7-4 win and a 2-0 record.
“You take nothing for granted in this game,” manager Davey Johnson said. “We’ve been slow getting started, but once we get started, it was fun watching. The right guys were getting up there at the right time with the right men on base, and we delivered. That’s what it’s all about. It’s fun to see.”
After Kerry Wood set down the first two Nats in the eighth, eight straight Washington hitters reached base. It was a never-ending string of hard-fought at-bats, patient hitting and turns around the bases.
Once things got rolling, it seemed like the Cubs’ relievers would never leave the Wrigley Field mound. Manager Dale Sveum should’ve brought closer Carlos Marmol a sleeping bag and a blanket.
Marmol let the first five hitters he faced after relieving Wood reach base, and the guys in the Nats’ dugout gained more confidence with each run that crossed the plate.
“There’s no question. It’s so much more positive when guys are on base,” LaRoche said. “It just keeps rolling. I don’t know how to explain (it). It’s just something in baseball. When guys are doing good, it rubs off on everybody else.”
The Nats would love to sneak across a few more runs in the early innings and not put so much pressure on themselves late in games, but one positive that’s come out of these last couple contests is these guys know they can get the job done off quality relievers with the game on the line.
“I think we’re all confident we’re all going to hit,” Danny Espinosa said. “Everyone on this team has hit before, so I don’t think there’s any lack of confidence because of what happened last year. We’ve come through in clutch situations where the guys that come off the bench and be able to get base hits and drive runs in in big situations, that’s huge. So we have all the confidence in the world.”