Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reports that Nationals manager Matt Williams lost his clubhouse as his club sputtered in the second half, frittering away the division lead in the NL East to the Mets, who clinched on Saturday evening.
From Svrluga’s article:
Now, several Nationals players believe Williams won’t be able to grow even if the club brings him back for 2016. And this isn’t just one or two malcontents. These opinions span positions and experience. “It’s a terrible environment,” one player said. “And the amazing part is everybody feels that way.”
Williams, who played for 17 seasons and made five All-Star teams, had very little coaching experience when the Nationals brought him on board as a manager. Nevertheless, the Nationals went 96-66 last season, which earned Williams NL Manager of the Year honors. Things went differently in 2015.
The Nationals entered play Saturday 78-75. They led the division by 4.5 games on July 5. They went 6-8 between the All-Star break and the end of July, 12-17 in August, and 12-11 in September.
Williams’ option for 2016 was exercised for the 2016 season back in February, but the Nationals will be under a great deal of pressure to make a change.
Giants outfielder Jarrett Parker hit three home runs, all of them necessary for his team to outlast the Athletics in a slugfest that was originally featured as a pitcher’s duel between veterans Tim Hudson and Barry Zito.
Parker hit a solo home run in the second inning off of Barry Zito to make it 3-0. He added a two-run home run in the seventh inning off of Drew Pomeranz to bring the Giants to within one run at 10-9, and then smacked a grand slam in the eighth off of Ryan Dull to make it 14-10.
Parker, 26, has been on a bit of a home run kick. Along with his 3-for-5, seven RBI performance on Saturday, he homered in a 1-for-4 game on Friday, and also homered as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday against the Padres. In 29 plate appearances this season, Parker is hitting .370/.414/1.074 (yes, that 1.074 is his slugging percentage) with six home runs and 12 RBI.
Watch Parker hit a grand slam for his third homer of the day:
With a single in the fifth inning on Saturday against the Mets, Reds first baseman Joey Votto extended his on-base streak to 43 games. He’s a little over halfway to reaching the record, held by Ted Williams. He reached base 83 times between July 1 and September 27, 1949.
Votto went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Padres on August 10. In the 42 games after that, he hit .362/.543/.677 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI spanning 184 plate appearances. Overall this season, Votto came into Saturday’s action batting .315/.463/.556 with 29 home runs and 77 RBI.