Do the Nats need a team meeting?
By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter
When Ian Desmond struck out in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday, mercifully ending the most disappointing series of a disappointing Nationals season, the numbers pretty much said it all.
Over three games against the Dodgers, the Nationals scored five runs. They hit a lowly .223, a full 17 points below their season average (.240), which is already fourth-worst in the Major Leagues. And with runners in scoring position, they were even worse: 2-for-26 (0.77).
“There’s nobody to blame besides us, no coaches, no anything like that,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “The bottom line is all of us, myself including, haven’t been producing like we should and that’s what happens.”
The Nationals were swept in a three-game series for the first time since mid-April. Still, Kurt Suzuki doesn’t think the series was as terrible as it seems.
“We could’ve easily won the first two games. We could’ve easily won the series,” he said. “Things didn’t go our way, and that’s what happens in baseball. You’ve just got to get back on the saddle. That’s a good team over there.”
To a man, the Nationals have maintained that the offense will eventually come around. It’s a long season. They’ll go on a run. It’s only a matter of time.
But after Sunday’s loss, you couldn’t help but wonder whether the Nationals should trade that patience for a heightened sense of urgency. One reporter asked Zimmerman, one of the team’s unquestioned leaders, whether he needed to call a team meeting.
“Pep talks don’t work for grownups,” he said. “The truth is you go out and you play the game the same way as you do every night. We go out there and we try and win every game, and this year obviously hasn’t worked out like we’ve wanted it to work out so far, but to have a meeting and tell people — I don’t know what we would tell them. You can’t tell them to play harder, you can’t tell them to try harder, and that’s really the only thing that those meetings are good for.
“Bottom line is we just need to go out and win games. Everyone can talk about whatever they want to talk about, but we got to go out and win.”