MILWAUKEE — For five straight days the Nationals’ postgame clubhouse has been silent. Five straight games, five straight losses and, understandably, not too many players who want to rehash what’s happening on the field.
But after Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers that dropped the team to 1-7 on the road trip and seven games below .500 on the season, right fielder Jayson Werth had some things to say, cryptic as they may be.
Here’s what Werth, who’s quietly raised his average to .254 and is now 10-for-23 in his last six games, had to say:
On what the Nationals need to do to get out of this funk: “I’ve got some ideas obviously and some thoughts that I don’t really want to share with the world, but I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on around here. I’m not going to get into it right now. It is what it is. It’s unfortunate. We’re a way better ball club.”
On if he feels the Nationals are close — one hit, one pitch — and things could be different: “I’ve felt that way the whole year. We have been close the whole time we just can’t get over the hump. We’ll get right there and we’ll have opportunities and chances to win games but we don’t win them and we should.
“But good ball clubs are resilient. The players are resilient and they bounce back. I believe in these guys in here. We’ve got a great group of guys, we’ve got a lot of talent, we just need to keep going. A lot of these guys are still learning and we’ve got to make sure that they continue to develop regardless of winning or losing because I think that’s important for the future of this club but things need to change.”
Werth declined to talk to the media after the Nationals’ first two losses of the series but it’s not difficult to deduce that the losing streak and current funk (they’re 3-10 in their last 13 games) is weighing on him. After years of losing, I’m sure that’s a welcome sentiment, but it’s all about how he (and the rest of the team) respond from here.
– Michael Morse hit his third home run in three days and has raised his once dwindling batting average to .281. In the four games since Morse has been playing first base consistently, with Adam LaRoche out, he’s 7-for-17 with a double, three homers and eight RBI. If Morse can get hot, it would certainly be a welcome development, especially with LaRoche down and his glove out of the lineup.
– Todd Coffey spent two-plus seasons in Milwaukee and as a member of the Brewers but when he made his first appearance of the series on Wednesday, even he was surprised by the welcome they gave him. Coffey, who is known for his sprint from the bullpen to the mound, was greeted with his usual Ultimate Warrior entrance song and the Miller Park stadium crew even brought out their old Coffey Time graphic to time the right-hander’s jaunt.
“It was nice,” Coffey said. “I played 2 ½ years here and the crowd was always behind me when I was playing here and to hear them cheering when I was running in was really nice and really classy.
“I noticed the song and I didn’t notice the timer until I came in and a few guys said it and that was pretty cool to know that I had an impact like that. I’ve never seen an opposing player get anything like that whenever they come in so I didn’t think it was going to happen and it’s a lot of class on their part to do that.”
Speaking of Coffey, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman mentioned before the game that he’d been satisfied with what Coffey’s done for the team but that it had been only in bits and pieces because of a DL stint and the ways in which they’ve had to use him. Still, however they’ve used him recently Coffey’s been pretty successful.
On the season he has just a 2.04 ERA and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances — while piling up nine strikeouts in that stretch.
– The Nationals will return home for a six-game homestand where they’ll welcome San Diego and Philadelphia before a lengthy west coast swing. They’ll face left-hander Clayton Richard, right-hander Tim Stauffer and right-hander Dustin Moseley in the San Diego series. Jordan Zimmermann will oppose Stauffer on Saturday which should be an interesting matchup to watch.