No one needs to tell Dave Martinez that the Washington Nationals are still in the thick of the postseason race.
After all, it was just two seasons ago that Martinez’s Nationals won the World Series after getting off to a 19-31 start.
Still, Martinez expressed some urgency Monday night after the Nationals defeated the Padres 7-5 in the opener of a four-game series in San Diego. The win followed four straight losses to the Dodgers.
“It’s go time,” Martinez said. “This was a good win against a good team. It’s time to string some wins together and finish strong going into the All-Star break.”
Well, the string ended at one as the Padres won 7-4 Tuesday night. But opportunity is at hand.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin (5-7, 5.56 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Nationals on Wednesday night against Padres’ right-hander Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.56 ERA). With Max Scherzer starting the series finale Thursday, there is a chance for the Nationals to take three of four. Of course, the same goes for the Padres, who have their ace, Yu Darvish, starting Thursday.
Like Martinez, Padres manager Jayce Tingler is looking at what the short term could mean in the long run.
“This last week before the break is very important,” said Tingler, who Tuesday had his team report late in hopes everyone could use the time to catch up on sleep.
“We had a tough game Monday coming off a unique road trip, especially with the three-hour time change flying home and the six rain delays on the (six-day) trip. I thought we’d let everyone get an extra hour or two of sleep today.
“We really want to finish up (the) last six games before the break playing really good baseball, so everyone got a little extra rest.”
So, it’s up to two pitchers who have not been at the top of their games to supply each team with momentum on Wednesday.
Paddack will be making his 16th start of the season and his eighth at Petco Park, where he has had more problems than he’s had when on the road. Paddack has a 2-3 record at home with a 5.29 ERA. His ERA on the road is 3.98.
On the season, Paddack has given up 42 runs (37 earned) on 73 hits and 17 walks with 75 strikeouts in 73 innings. But over his past two starts, Paddack has given up eight earned runs in 9 1/3 innings on 12 hits and three walks.
The opposition is onto Paddack’s fastball/change combination, and he has been slow to trust in his curve. However, this is the first time Paddack has faced the Nationals. Usually, his stuff plays well in his first appearance against teams.
Against Corbin, opponents are hitting .274 with 93 hits in 87 1/3 innings. In his start against the Dodgers last Friday, Corbin gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 in his past two starts, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on 13 hits in 10 2/3 innings.
“There’s no excuses with Patrick,” Martinez said. “He’s tough when he’s consistently keeping the ball down. The problem has been mechanics and he’s working at it.”
Corbin is 6-8 in his career against the Padres with a 4.30 ERA.
–Field Level Media