Nats Notebook: One more ‘1-0’ to get to the World Series

washington nationalsFrom 12 under .500 in May to up 3-0 in the NLCS. The Washington Nationals are not going to be the team to take where it is right now for granted.

“Honestly, and I mean this sincerely, I have not thought about it yet,” Nats manager Davey Martinez said after the 8-1 win over St. Louis in Game 3 has his team on the brink of a historic World Series appearance.

It would be the first in team history, and also the first for a team that had been that far under .500 in the course of a season.

Martinez helped frame the turnaround from the 19-31 start by setting as the team’s mantra “go 1-0.” That’s not changing now with his team up 3-0 on the Cardinals.

“I’m worried about just getting through tomorrow, go 1-0 tomorrow, and we’ll see what happens then,” Martinez said.

Howie Kendrick, who had two two-out RBI doubles in the win Monday night, talked about the grind that the team has faced since May 24, the day things started turning in the right direction for the Nationals.

“People were counting us out already. I feel like from that point on, we took off,” Kendrick said. “Our pitching was really good. Our defense was great, and our bats got hot. I think when you look at it like that, I think anything can happen in this game, and that’s why we play every day because of the possibility of where we’re at right now.

“I feel like those games, playing and being down like that, they’re kind of like playoff games in a sense. You’re rolling. You’re playing games. I mean, every game counts, and that’s why we play 162,” Kendrick said.

And now the Nats are at their hottest at the right time of the year, having finished the regular season winning 10 of their last 11, including eight straight to end the season, and now going 7-2 in the NL playoffs to get to this point.

The makings of this run date all the way back to May.

“I mean, we had our backs against the wall, and they stuck with it, and they believed in each other, and they believed that they were going to bounce back and this thing was going to turn around,” Martinez said.

“I’ve said it before, we’ve been playing playoff games since then. We had to play really good to come back and do the things we’ve done, and now, in September, they believed that they can do this, and they’re going out there, and they’re not taking anything for granted, and they’re playing really hard, and they’re playing to win one game every day. The big message, I say it every day, is to go 1-0 every day, and they believe that,” Martinez said.

Stephen Strasburg, who got the win on Monday, his third of the 2019 postseason, made it clear: it’s not over yet.

“You guys can (think that), but right now, I think it’s been just such an amazing year, and I think it’s really been great just because of where we’ve had to come from. We’ve got such a great group of guys, and it’s fun. It’s fun being around the guys and going out there and competing together. I think you ask anybody in there, we just want to stay together and keep playing,” Strasburg said.

Story by Chris Graham

Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press