Williams discusses Nats’ eighth straight win

Eight in a row.

The winning streak has now reached eight games, the second-longest stretch in Nationals team history. The Nats are 18 games above .500 and are clicking on all cylinders.

And tonight, they didn’t even need a walk-off to claim the victory.

Stephen Strasburg allowed just one run on three hits in eight innings of work, notching his 10th win of the season. Ian Desmond drove in four and Asdrubal Cabrera delivered a bases-clearing double that was part of a six-run third in an 8-1 Nats win.

Here’s manager Matt Williams after his team picked up yet another W.

strasburg-throws-white.jpgOn Strasburg’s outing: “Different scenario, certainly could’ve gone out for the ninth, which is great. But we needed to get Blev (Jerry Blevins) in the game, too. He hasn’t, last week or so, hasn’t pitched much. With the exception of the homer in the first, he was in complete control. Not a lot of strikeouts, but a lot of ground balls. Limited pitch count, putting the ball in play, which is good.”

On whether Strasburg’s effort was more meaningful given how taxed the bullpen has been lately: “Sure. Everybody’s fully aware of where we’re at going into the game today. Like I said, he could’ve gone back out, if need be, but with the way the game was at that point, there’s no need to do that. We don’t have a whole lot of off-days, so I didn’t want to push him too much. But he stepped up.”

On how much of Strasburg’s success his last two outings can be attributed to the righty working on the inner half: “Quite a bit. It opens the plate for him and allows him to throw other pitches with even more effectiveness. But I think the biggest thing it does is it opens up down and away. And that’s important for him.”

On the offensive production: “Yeah. Good approach from the guys tonight. They hadn’t seen Chase (Anderson), with the exception of Asdrubal. He’s got a good changeup and a good curveball and they used the middle of the diamond tonight, which is a good approach.”

On not having a close ballgame tonight for the first time in a while: “It’s important for us to continue to play well. Sometimes you can play well and not win, but I liked the way the guys went about it tonight. Good defensive plays, good hitting with guys in scoring position, so all-around good effort.”

On how much of an impact Cabrera has made: “Well, he’s a pro. His time at shortstop I think helps everything. Coming in, he hadn’t played second base in a while, but switch-hitting capabilities, been in situations like this, hitting in the middle of the order of a team, and a contending team, helps everything. So he’s been here, he’s done it, and he understands what he needs to do when he goes up there and hits to the situation. He’s played really well.”

On if Desmond (20 homers, 77 RBIs) might be getting overlooked this season: “Yeah, it’s a good year. He’s been in position, whether it’s been fifth, sixth or seventh, to drive runs in for us. And he’s taking advantage of that. When we have certainly the full lineup in there, you’ve got three, four and five that are good on-base guys, so there’s going to be opportunity for him. And it’s important for him to be able to do that, because we certainly rely on him. He’s played every day and he’s one of the leaders on our club, by example out there. But tonight was an example of him just shortening up and taking the two-run single, and that’s important. That’s how you have big RBI years.”

On the winning streak: “Well, I think in times like this when you’re playing well, you want to just keep going. We don’t think about it too much, other than get ready for tomorrow. But the guys, they’ve gotten to the point where they understand where we’re at. They understand what it’s going to take, I think, to get to where we want to go. And that simply comes down to continuing to play well. We’re going to have to do things right if we’re going to win tomorrow, and beyond that. So it’s very businesslike with them and they go about it every day with desire and passion and excitement. So it’s been good.”

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