Nationals manager Davey Martinez had no second update on Victor Robles after the center fielder left Saturday night’s game due to symptoms of dehydration. Robles left in the second inning of the Braves’ 13-9 comeback victory.
Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez watched as Robles dropped down on one knee behind him in the top of the second during a Nick Markakis at-bat.
“I don’t know what’s going on back there at that moment, but, you know, just figure out after,” Sánchez said. “It was a crazy situation because the game is still going and making time for someone just happened to (be) one of your teammates. You don’t know at the moment, but thank God he is OK.”
Martinez said he would check in with Robles to see how he was as the club prepares for the final game of the homestand Sunday against the Braves.
The skipper reflected on the heartbreaking loss to Atlanta, as the Nats have still gone 18-8 in their last 26 games.
“We’re playing good,” Martinez said. “For the last five, six, seven weeks, they’ve been good. So today is one game, one loss. We have a chance to come back tomorrow and win the series. We have to come back tomorrow. Swinging the bats well, playing really well. Even when we got down, the boys came back and got another run. We just couldn’t hold them. We just got to come back tomorrow and do it again and hopefully get on top and stay on top.”
* Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal was unable to find the plate, walking three batters in a row to begin the seventh. This looked to be the same problem he was having early in the season. Rosenthal said he was looking into a slight mechanical issue in hopes of solving what looks like a major problem. He said the tweak is related to earlier changes he was implementing in attempt to fix the command issue.
“It’s similar. Just getting the right timing, getting everything in sync to where my arm and everything is on time to deliver the ball in the right direction,” Rosenthal said.
After Rosenthal walked Tyler Flowers and pinch-hitter Matt Joyce, Martinez stayed with him instead of going to the bullpen. The right-hander walked Ronald Acuña Jr. to load the bases. The free passes helped to ignite a four-run comeback for the Braves.
But Martinez said he wanted to go all in for Rosenthal. It just did not work.
“If we’re going to do this, we need to see where we’re at,” Martinez said. “We have eight guys down there and they got to pitch. We had no (Wander) Suero today. (Javy) Guerra today, who came in, he’s done a really good job, but he had three days in a row (and was) up a bunch of times. He needed a day.
“I really felt good about putting Rosie in there at the end. He walked the guys and then I said, ‘Hey, you know what, he’s got to settle down. Let’s see what he does. Once he walked the third guy, (Tanner) Rainey was ready and we had to do something.”
Does Rosenthal feel like he is running in place, unable to get out of this inability to find the strike zone?
“It stinks, especially a game like (Saturday night) where we’re rolling and have a chance to win that game, but I’m not trying to just dwell on it, I guess,” Rosenthal said. “Come back, like I said, just come back tomorrow, realize there’s an adjustment I can make and I think it’ll make a big difference to get me back to where I want to be. So confident in that and excited to get back out there.”
* The Nationals will go to right-hander Austin Voth to start Sunday’s finale against the Braves. Voth made two starts for the Nats last season, finishing 1-1 in four appearances with a 6.57 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. He fired one shutout inning against Atlanta in a relief role on Sept. 14, 2018. His best start was Sept. 22, 2018, when he allowed one hit over five shutout innings in a 6-0 defeat of the Mets and Corey Oswalt.
Voth was 3-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 12 starts this season with Triple-A Fresno, with 68 strikeouts over 61 1/3 innings and a 1.35 WHIP.
Right-hander Joe Ross appeared to be the favorite to start Sunday after returning to that role recently with Fresno. But Martinez needed him out of the bullpen Saturday night.
Did Ross have problems switching back and forth from starting to relieving?
“I guess it helped that I was already in the ‘pen earlier,” Ross said. “So I kind of had a feel for how to get ready for the game. But I mean, really, the only difference is, I guess, the rate you have to be prepared once they call down. I had plenty of time, they called the inning before. I think (Tanner) Rainey was in when I got up, so he got out of the inning and had a fresh inning, but didn’t really go the way that I would’ve hoped.”
Ross allowed four runs on five hits in one inning to take his first loss of the season. After watching it fall apart for Ross Saturday, Martinez said the Nationals will have to decide if Ross should be a starter or a reliever. The decision could have major implications for Ross’ career.
“With Joe, here’s a guy who came off of Tommy John and, as we’re seeing, sometimes it takes them a while to get going,” Martinez said. “I really believe we have to figure out what his role’s going to be, whether he’s going to start or he’s going to relieve and leave him there and let him do his thing. I really do believe there’s some upside in the future. We just got to build him back up. He was good before Tommy John.”