For 2 hours, 48 minutes Tuesday night, a severely depleted Nationals lineup rode youthful emotion (and an excellent performance from its pitching staff) to a most unlikely victory over the first-place Mets. An otherwise depressing day during a depressing season at least included this uplifting note on the field.
Then reality set back in this afternoon. That same lineup was shut out by Mets starter Chris Bassitt, while Aníbal Sánchez, Jordan Weems and the pitching staff was roughed by New York’s potent lineup during a 9-5 thrashing in the finale of their three-game series that only seemed close because of a furious, five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth.
As this all played out, Juan Soto and Josh Bell were being introduced as the newest members of the Padres during a press conference at Petco Park, inserted by manager Bob Melvin into an already fearsome lineup as his new No. 2 and No. 4 hitters.
It was a stark reminder of what transpired back here at Nationals Park one day earlier, and what that means the rest of this season (and perhaps beyond) will look like for the local ballclub.
"Soto and Bell were a big part of the team," Sánchez said. "But at the end, we have to understand that baseball is like that. I think everybody is ready to play every single day. Everything happened one day. I think the next day, everybody ... it's not about forgetting, but they're ready to play."