The Washington Nationals are running out of time and options after yielding their second-straight walk-off homer. Now it appears, their rookie manager is running out of hope. Following Monday’s 7-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Nats third loss in their last four games, their skipper Davey Martinez gave a discouraging response to his bullpen’s continued struggles.
“I don’t know what else to do,” Martinez uttered per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Now, the answer was more so directed at left-handed reliever Sammy Solis’ struggles to get left-handed batters out, but it’s so fitting for a team that was picked to win the National League East before the season and now find themselves seven games back of first place 119 games into. The Nationals’ backs are against the wall, and just as Adam Eaton proclaimed before the turn of calendar to August, they need to win every series. Monday’s loss puts a stamp on the numerous struggles the Nats have gone through this season.
Before Monday night, left-handed batters were hitting .275/ .333/.478 off Solis and 16 of his 23 runs he had yielded coming off the bat of a left-hander. However, the Nationals relied on him Monday night and Solis gave up a huge three-run homer to Matt Carpenter in the eighth that swung the Nats’ 4-2 lead into a 6-4 deficit.
Washington would go on to tie the game at 6-6 in the top-half of the ninth, however, Koda Glover gave up a walk-off home run to Paul DeJong in the bottom of the frame for the loss.
“It’s tough when you’ve got your closer, your setup guy, your seventh inning guy all beat up,” Martinez added per Mark Zuckerman of MASN.
The Nats bullpen has been in shambles recently. Closer Sean Doolittle is on the disabled list. Kelvin Herrera is also on the DL but has had his struggles since the Nats acquired him in a June trade. The team traded Brandon Kintzler, who lefties are coincidentally hitting .229/.349/.357 with one home run off him, because the club believed he was the source to ‘messy clubhouse report’ and the team traded Shawn Kelley to the Oakland A’s after he slammed his glove in frustration after giving up a three-run homer in a 25-4 win.
The bullpen is by far the team’s biggest weakness. On Sunday Ryan Madson allowed a walk-off grand slam against the Cubs, wasting a stellar performance from ace Max Scherzer, who pitched seven shutout innings. Following the loss, Madson blamed his woes on a bad back, which Martinez admitted he knew nothing about prior to the contest.
Bryce Harper’s potential last season in D.C. was supposed to be the biggest distraction, however, the Nationals’ disappointing season has been highlighted by unstable bullpen and managerial decisions.