The Nationals have lost five of their last six. Four of those losses have been by one run.
It’s not like they’re getting blown out. They’re just not getting the job done in tight ballgames as of late.
This afternoon, it was a 3-2 loss to the Marlins that bumped the Nats back below .500 at 25-26.
Adam LaRoche crushed a two-run homer into the second deck in right in his second game back off the disabled list and Tanner Roark allowed just three runs over seven strong innings, but the Nats couldn’t manage much offense against flame-throwing righty Nathan Eovaldi and the Miami bullpen.
Giancarlo Stanton continued to kill the Nats, going 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the loss:
On how you pitch to a guy as good as Stanton: “If it’s a hanging breaking ball, he can hit it over the fence. And that’s what it was. Tanner certainly didn’t wanna throw it there, and that’s what happens sometimes with him - if you hang that breaking ball out over the plate, sometimes it gets whacked. And it got whacked today.
On what led to Roark getting off to a bit of a slow start in the early innings: “For me, he was falling off a little bit. Just didn’t have command early. He settled in after that, though. But early, it was a little bit hit or miss with his command. The first inning, Stanton hit a double. Jayson (Werth) almost caught that ball, but it ended up getting a double and then a single to drive in the first one, and then just a hanging breaking ball to Stanton again. So that’s the difference in the game.”
On what made Eovaldi so good: “He’s got the hardest fastball in the game, and if he can command it, he’s tough to hit. Today, he did. Pitched well.”
On if he expects more from the Nats offensively: “Of course. They expect more from themselves. We’ve got to give ourselves a better chance. And everybody knows that. It’s well-documented. Everybody’s been talking about it. But some positive signs today, certainly, from Rochie. Back in the lineup and got one today. Some positive signs coming ... regarding our health, out of our training room, which is good. So today wasn’t out day, but we’ve got to go at 7 o’clock tomorrow night, so we’ll see what we can do.”
On what’s lacking offensively right now: “Right now, it’s a question of getting that big hit when we need it. Hasn’t happened, for the most part, anyway. So we’ll keep grinding, keep approaching it the same way. Bunch base hits together. We’ve got the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark, but the key for us is to bunch base hits.
On if the Nats got word on Ryan Zimmerman’s latest X-ray today: “He’s clear to start swinging and throwing, so he’ll start that process. So all signs are good.”
On if the thumb fracture has completely healed: “Well, we still have to be careful, but there’s some positives there. So he can throw, he can start swinging. We’re going to take it a little slow with the bat because vibration can certainly cause pain, let alone any further damage. But he’s been cleared to do that, which is good.”
On a timetable for Zimmerman’s return: “Don’t know. We don’t have a definite on that yet. But he’s taken the next step, which is good. So he’ll start swinging the bat in the cage, some tee work, some soft-toss work. See how he does with that and progress from there.”
On pinch-hitting for Danny Espinosa with two outs in the ninth: “Espi was 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts against (Marlins closer Steve) Cishek, yeah.”
On how Gio Gonzalez came through his throwing session earlier: “Gio threw good today. He’ll go again tomorrow. He’ll stretch back out to 120 (feet) again tomorrow. We’ll see how he is and then try to line up a bullpen from there. But he threw well today, felt good today.”