Washington Nationals’ defense needs to get better … sooner than later

“We’re making too many errors, clearly,” Washington GM Mike Rizzo advised 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports activities Junkies final Wednesday, in discussing the defensive points the Nationals have been coping with within the first two months this season.

“We’re No. 1 within the league in errors made,” Rizzo continued, “and our run-prevention is poor, and our run-creation is stable.”

“We don’t strike out a lot, we’re on the high of the sport there. And our run-scoring is ok, so we’ve acquired to forestall extra runs, and to try this you need to run the bases higher, you bought to play protection higher, which helps the pitching, and we’ve acquired to cease strolling folks. Our pitchers should throw the ball over the plate, and throw it within the strike zone to present us an opportunity to win and I feel that’s Davey [Martinez’s] message to our starters and relievers, you bought to assault the strike zone, and belief your stuff, and let the protection make it easier to behind you.”

But when the protection doesn’t assist? With three errors in Tuesday evening’s loss to Miami’s Marlins, the Nats had an MLB-high 32 errors on the 12 months.

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All three errors got here within the seventh inning, when reliever Erasmo Ramírez booted a bunt to the mound after a leadoff double, then sailed a pickoff throw Josh Bell collected earlier than he threw it away for a throwing error of his personal which allowed two runs to attain on the play. It was … not good.

“One, Erasmos, he acquired caught, his entrance leg, nevertheless it ought to have been a balk,” Martinez mentioned when he went over the sequence in his publish recreation presser on Tuesday.

“I assumed they have been going to name balk and the play is completed, however he tried to throw the ball as a result of there was a man on third base, threw the ball away, after which Josh Bell turned and fired the ball to the place he thought [Alcides] Escobar was the lower, and he simply missed all people, so in that state of affairs, like I mentioned, man, in these conditions we’re making an attempt too arduous to create one thing that’s not there. All he needed to do was most likely take a peek, look the place all people is at, after which hearth the ball straight to 3rd base.”

Requested if a distinct method or message was wanted to shake the membership out of the defensive funk they’ve been in, Martinez mentioned his membership simply must hold hammering dwelling some issues they’ve been stressing from the beginning.

“For me it’s about addressing the problem day-after-day,” he defined. “We tackle all the problems day-after-day. I sit with the fellows, I speak to them day-after-day and tackle it, and hopefully we get higher. Like I mentioned, we acquired some younger guys which can be studying and are getting higher, and we acquired some veteran guys that simply must carry out a bit bit higher, actually, if you concentrate on it. And I feel that’s going to return. I actually do. So, I’ve mentioned this earlier than, you see indicators of us possibly breaking out in the future, and also you suppose that the subsequent day — however we acquired to start out, one, like I mentioned, driving in runs, and simply making issues occur. Staying constructive and making issues occur, that’s all we will do. That’s the one manner we’re going to get out of this, is that we keep constructive, and we pull for each other and we attempt to go 1-0 day-after-day.”

Does the truth that veterans are making errors have an effect on a number of the youthful members of the roster?

Are youthful gamers urgent and possibly forcing the problems as issues have gone mistaken?

“It’s all of them,” Martinez mentioned. “It truly is. I can’t pinpoint only one man. Loads of guys are simply urgent proper now, as a result of they care. The most important factor about this group is that they care. And so they need to win, they need to snap out of it, however we have to simply chill out a bit bit and simply play the sport.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins

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“I discuss chasing the sport, you may’t chase the sport, you recognize. Simply chill out and go on the market and play the sport and have enjoyable.”

The membership’s defensive struggles got here up once more in Rizzo’s go to to the Sports activities Junkies this week, with the GM in D.C. explaining it’s arduous to determine why some usually stable defenders are struggling within the discipline.

“You realize, it’s arduous to place my finger on it proper now,” he advised the Junkies. “We’re evaluating what’s occurring, and it’s not an absence of preparation or work. The blokes are working, I feel they’re possibly working a bit bit too arduous pregame, and we’re concentrating lots on it, placing a whole lot of vitality into it, and I feel simply guys are urgent a bit bit and simply making an attempt to do an excessive amount of and we hold excited about it, worrying about it, and speaking about it as a substitute of simply letting it circulate.

“You’ve acquired some competent defenders there. Up there center you’ve acquired two Gold Glove winners, and also you’ve acquired a middle fielder that was a Gold Glove finalist and a catcher that’s going to be a Gold Glove finalist within the close to future I imagine.

“We must be robust up the center, and we’re not. And I perceive that the Gold Gloves up the center haven’t been for a pair years, however they’re nonetheless good defensive guys and we must be taking part in significantly better.

“I’m not going to make a whole lot of excuses for it. That is the large leagues, you’ve acquired decide the ball up and make the routine performs and you need to make them routine and you need to make them on a regular basis, and we’re simply not doing it. So, it’s affecting the pitching workers, our starters, and it’s affecting our bullpen, and it impacts the ultimate rating of the sport, and it’s the most important drawback now we have and now we have to maintain working at it to get higher.”

The Nationals didn’t make any errors in Wednesday evening’s win over the Marlins…