It’s no secret the Washington Nationals are in the midst of a downward spiral. As of today, they sit six games behind the New York Mets and 9 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second National League Wild Card slot. Tonight, they continue their series against the Mets and look to avoid a series sweep.
After last night’s heartbreaking loss, in which the Mets scored seven unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Nationals 8-7. The Nationals bullpen fell apart once again at one of the most inopportune moments of the season. Twelve men came to the plate in the seventh inning, with reliever Drew Storen being hit the hardest. He gave up a bases-clearing double to the always clutch Yoenis Cespedes and reloaded the bases again and walked in the game tying run. In the eighth, Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a solo shot off closer Jonathan Papelbon to give New York the lead.
Fans were upset with some of the calls that manager Matt Williams made, especially in the last couple of innings. His decision to have third baseman Anthony Rendon bunt on a 3-1 count in the ninth inning was one of his most questionable moves of the evening. Nationals fans made their way into Williams’ post game press conference and were heard booing him as he exited the room.
This morning, Williams spoke with local D.C. sports radio station 106.7 The Fan and expressed how “fantastic” Nationals fans have been and thanked them for their support over the course of the season. A couple of days ago, Nationals phenom Bryce Harper expressed his displeasure with Nationals fans who left after the seventh inning on Monday night when the Mets took the lead. After the game, Harper was quoted saying, “I mean, they left in the seventh, so that’s pretty brutal. I don’t know. Whatever.”
Fans or no fans, the Nationals need a win to avoid a sweep. Tonight is a battle of the aces. Stephen Strasburg faces off against Jacob DeGrom. Statisically, in the second half of the season Strasburg has the lower ERA of the two. The Nationals go into this game trying to hold together what’s left of their dignity and hope to squash the Mets’ hopes of a series sweep.