Nationals manager Davey Martinez had a spring in his step as he met reporters in the home dugout following the annual team picture before tonight’s first game against the Braves with: “How’s everybody doing!?”
He had an upbeat attitude, as he usually does, for good reason. His club won two of three in Minnesota, their first series victory against a team with a winning record since sweeping the Cubs on Aug. 25.
“It made it a lot better the fact that we won the game and we played the game,” Martinez said. “We didn’t want to stay there any longer or even have to go back late September, try and make up that game. I’m glad we got the game in. Everybody seemed like they are well rested. We got in pretty late but they all slept in. We got a late start today. Let’s play today and worry about today.”
“He is still the same,” Martinez said of Suzuki. “No throwing yet. But he’s getting better. Inflammation is going down a little bit so hopefully by the end of the weekend he might be able to start swinging a bat which would be encouraging.”
Gomes has started the entire week, including last week’s win in Atlanta with Max Scherzer on the bump. That is the same battery tonight in a rematch.
“He’s a strong guy but he’s playing well,” Martinez said. “I talked to him and when he needs a break we’ll give him a break. But he’s playing really well right now.”
Left-handed reliever Roenis Elías is slowly recovering from a second hamstring injury. Martinez believes the timetable of one month will mirror what the left-hander previously endured after suffering a left hamstring strain Aug. 4 in Arizona. He missed 22 games the first time out.
“He’s same,” Martinez said. “He’s just progressing, strengthening. It’s going to take some time. We’re hoping we get him back here soon but it’s going to take time.
“I think it’s going to be about the same time. I hate to put a timetable on it because anything can happen but it’s the same area so we got to be really careful.”
Matt Adams tweaked his left shoulder/triceps in the win over the Twins. Martinez said the slugger is meeting with the team doctor today and then they will know more after that evaluation.
Update: Scherzer has allowed two hits and struck out five through three shutout innings. Braves right-hander Mike Soroka has also thrown three scoreless frames, but also has not allowed a base hit.
The Braves and the Nats are scoreless through three innings.
Update II: Matt Joyce hit a run-scoring single and Dansby Swanson laced an RBI double to the wall off Scherzer in the fourth inning. Freddie Freeman left the game to begin the bottom of the fourth, replaced by Charlie Culberson. We are awaiting word on the reason for Freeman’s exit.
Through four, the Braves lead the Nats 2-0.
Update III: Nick Markakis is 2-for-2 with a run and a sacrifice fly RBI in his first game back since late July due to a broken wrist. His deep drive in the fifth scored Ronald Acuña Jr. to make it 3-0 Braves.
Update IV: Ozzie Albies led off the seventh inning with a solo homer to right-center field off Nats reliever Tanner Rainey. Albies’ blast was his 23rd of the season, and his third hit in four at-bats in the game.
Scherzer’s line: Five innings, three runs allowed on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Soroka lasted six shutout innings, giving up only an Adam Eaton double to lead off the fourth, with three walks and four strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, 57 for strikes.
Mid-seventh, the Braves lead the Nats 4-0.
Update V: Hunter Strickland surrendered an RBI double to pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega in the eighth.
Mid-eighth, the Braves lead the Nats 5-0.
Update VI: Juan Soto doubled off of Jerry Blevins with two outs in the ninth. But Blevins struck out the final batter to end the game.
Final score: the Braves 5, the Nats 0.