Jim Riggleman has questioned the Nationals’ effort several times after losses this season, and Sunday’s 6-2 defeat against the Mets certainly met the threshhold for one of those sessions. The Nationals fell behind 4-0 early, and had only two hits until the ninth inning.
“It just was a lackluster performance,” Riggleman said, paraphrasing what he told his team after the loss. “We got down a run and it was almost as if, ‘Well, let’s see what we can do here, get through it.’ The thing is, the other guy’s throwing a pretty good ballgame. Good pitching will make you look flat, and he pitched pretty good. But we can’t allow that to happen. We’ve got a lot of guys on this ballclub playing to make an impression for the future.”
The notion of the Nationals being flat was downplayed by Ryan Zimmerman and completely rejected by Adam Dunn.
“We’ve played one-hundred-and-x amount of games. Why would we decide on Sunday, whatever the day is, to not play hard?” Dunn said. “That’s (crap). I don’t care how we’re winning or losing. We do play hard. I think the energy was the same as any other game. We didn’t seem to play as well as we can.”
Garrett Mock went seven innings for the first time in his career, but the first three of those were rough. He gave up four runs in that time, and Riggleman said if the game had meant more, he might have pinch-hit for Mock. As it is, he said, the only way that would’ve happened was if the Nationals had a chance to start a rally.
But he cautioned that Mock, who has righted the ship after several early struggles, might not always get the chance to last that long.
“If that is a meaningful game in the future, he might have to be pinch-hit for,” Riggleman said. “You put your club down four runs in three innings, you don’t get the opportunity sometimes to show how good you are.”
The Nats are off tomorrow and start a three-game series against the Dodgers on Tuesday. They’re sitting on 98 losses, and it’s a safe bet No. 100 will come this week. Stay tuned.