Update (9:19 PM ET): Credit to the Nationals — they battled back. It’s 10-9 after six innings. They hung up a four-spot in the fifth and added five more in the sixth. Trea Turner hit a go-ahead grand slam. Maybe that players-only meeting helped after all.
Wednesday’s players-only meeting in the Nationals’ clubhouse apparently didn’t do the trick. Through four innings of Thursday night’s series opener at home against the Marlins, the Nationals are getting blown out 9-1.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has given up all nine runs, eight earned, on nine hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Martin Prado knocked in a run in the top of the first thanks to a fielding error by third baseman Anthony Rendon. In the second, J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run single and Justin Bour followed up with an RBI single. A short while later, Martin Prado clanked a three-run home run off the foul pole down the left field line. Bour added a two-run homer in the fourth.
Trea Turner put the Nationals on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run off of Pablo Lopez, but the Nats will need a lot more than that to get back into the game.
If the Nats drop Thursday’s game, they’ll have lost their fourth game in a row and their 18th in their last 23 games. The first-place Braves are currently leading the Brewers and the Phillies have the night off. The Nationals entered play Thursday seven games behind the Braves and 5.5 behind the Phillies.
If you had been told in mid-April that, in July, Gabe Kapler would be the most successful of the three rookie managers in the National League, you likely would have been very skeptical. Kapler’s Phillies are 47-37. Mickey Callaway’s Mets are 34-49. And Dave Martinez’s 42-43 Nationals are sinking quickly.