Think Nationals manager Matt Williams is stewing over the Phillies’ 8-4 come-from-behind win Wednesday night that gave them a series sweep? Think again.
Sounds more like the skipper has already filed the three games at Citizens Bank Park away. The Nats might not be landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for another six hours, but Williams might as already be in the Pacific Northwest.
The Nats didn’t look so good Wednesday night. Doug Fister struggled through 5 2/3 innings and gave up two home runs, including a go-ahead two-run blast by pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore in the sixth. Williams had Matt Thornton warming but left Fister in to face the lefty-swinging Sizemore. After Fister hit Ben Revere with an up-and-in pitch, he was done for the night.
Denard Span went 3-for-4 with a home run that glanced off the facing of the second deck in right field. He fell a triple short of the cycle.
Here’s reaction from the clubhouse after the loss:
Williams on Fister’s outing: “With the exception of the last pitch he threw for the homer, pretty good. Early on they got him for a couple of base hits in front of the outfielders, then he settled in nicely and pitched well. Trying to get him through that inning and give him a chance to finish it. It didn’t work that way.
Williams when asked if there’s a reason Fister has given up more homers recently: “Tonight it was the curve ball. He had him down two strikes and just hung a curveball. I don’t think there’s any common theme to it. Generally, he’s thrown the sinker and the changeup and balls are on the ground. In the last couple he’s given up some homers. ... Sometimes they hit a homer, sometimes they ground it out. Tonight they hit a homer.
Williams on whether the procedure to remove skin cancer from Fister’s neck has had any lasting negative effects: “No, I wouldn’t think so. No. It was an outpatient type thing. I don’t think there’s any effect there at all. He missed no time, didn’t miss any work. In fact, he worked out the day before he went.”
Williams on whether he was surprised both benches were warned when Fister hit Ben Revere in the sixth inning: “Certainly unintentional. He was just trying to come in there, bring the ball back and it got in too far. There wouldn’t be any reason he would hit Ben there. But they decided to make sure they nipped it in the bud, but it wasn’t intentional.”
Williams on Span’s second-deck home run: “Yeah, he’s got some pop. He’s got home run capability. He’s been hitting a lot of balls the other way and up the middle, so that doesn’t lend to homers. But he has some pop to the pull side.”
Williams on whether he was surprised to be swept by the Phillies: “It’s the same approach we’ll always take - win, lose, good, bad or indifferent. Game’s over and there’s nothing we can do about it now other than look forward to the next one. Got a long flight, an off-day and we’ll see if we can get the Mariners on Friday.”
Williams on whether the Nats will use upcoming series against the Mariners and Dodgers as a measuring stick: “We never ever think that way. We know that if we do things correctly, we have a chance to beat the other team on any given night. That’s how we approach it every day, regardless of if we’ve got a winning streak or we’ve lost three in a row. That’s how we approach it.”
Shortstop Ian Desmond on why it’s tough to play the Phillies in their home park: “I think over the last three or more years, they always have really good pitching staffs. I’m not saying they’re better than us offensively. I don’t think it’s the ballpark or the atmosphere or anything like that. We’ve just run into some tough pitching and they’ve pitched well.”
Desmond on Fister’s outing: “The two-run homer by Sizemore right there. If he doesn’t swing at that ball, that ball bounces in front of the plate probably. It was a good swing on a good pitch. I don’t think that’s indicative to a bad start. They came out aggressive early and made the adjustment. He just battled his butt off. We probably should have scored some more runs, regardless. Maybe, as an offense, we’re taking it a little too lightly that we’re going to expect him to go out and expect him to throw a shutout every time. We got to score more runs.”
Fister on his outing: “I let the guys down tonight with some bad pitches. I didn’t do my job. Starting pitcher is supposed to set the tone and be the example and from the first pitch, I didn’t do that. I gotta be better from the start.”
Fister on making adjustments: “It’s just a matter of ... getting the ball down. That’s the key to any sort of success It’s going to be something I have to really bear down on and get some work on.”
Fister on giving up four home runs in his last two starts: “The one to Sizemore, I got away from my plan. I tried to get tricky with a couple of curveballs and I hung the second one. Obviously, he’s a great hitter and he’s done it for a while and I paid for it.
Fister on whether Nats can forget about the sweep: “We have to. However many games left, but in a 162-game season, you have to forget about today and yesterday and go get the next one. ... You have to have amnesia, you have to forget about it and move on.”