SAN FRANCISCO - There’s an old saying in the baseball world. It goes: “Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.”
The Nationals have won eight of their last 10. Over those 10 games, they’ve outscored their opponents 62-18. Their starters have delivered 10 straight quality starts, and in their last six games, Nats starters have struck out 47 and walked none, making them the first team to do so since 1914.
Last night, the Nats put a thumping on the best team in baseball, handing them their most lopsided loss of the season.
So the Nats are riding a wave of momentum right now, right? They feel like they’re about to go on a big run?
“No,” manager Matt Williams said simply. “Tonight’s over. We go tomorrow. That’s all we can concentrate on is tomorrow. Against a really, really good left-handed pitcher in (Madison Bumgarner). We won tonight, and that’s good, but we have to concentrate on playing a good game again tomorrow.”
Sure, the Nats are feeling good right now. The clubhouse is a positive place, guys are having fun and all aspects seem to be clicking.
But it’s not like any of that positivity wasn’t there three weeks ago. The Nats have remained on an even-keel over the first 10 weeks of the season, and they’re not going to get too caught up in one 10-game stretch in early June.
“I don’t know if (team confidence) carries over in baseball, because good pitching will beat good hitting on any day,” Williams said. “Every game, there’s so many of them that you just can’t get that wrapped up into it. We want to make sure that we’re ready to play tomorrow, and that’s all we can do. They’ll be tough to beat, for sure. They’re a great team. So we’re going to have to play well if we’re to do that.”
Last night’s game was surely a joy for Nats fans to watch, if you were able to stay up for it. The Nats had their first run three batters into the game, Stephen Strasburg delivered six stellar innings, Nats hitters crushed eight extra-base hits and many Giants fans were heading for the exits in the seventh inning after the visiting team broke the game open.
But as the Nats see it, that dominating performance is behind them now. Come first pitch tonight, they’ll need to bring it again. Otherwise, a talented Giants team will be ready to pounce.
“It’s only one game,” Denard Span said. “We’ve got a long series. We’ve got three more games. We’ve got Bumgarner going tomorrow. That’s going to be a tough day. But we definitely felt good to come out and set the tone and have a good game against a good pitcher and a good team.”
Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. Doug Fister, you’re up next.