Matt Williams

Matt Williams sick to his stomach over Nationals terrible start: 'It doesn't taste very good'

Mike Petraglia
April 14, 2015 - 10:32 pm

Give Matt Williams this much. He sure knows how to weave a metaphor. The Nationals manager has watched his team - picked by many experts to represent the National League in the World Series - self-destruct in the opening week. The first two games at Fenway Park this week represent a glaring example of all that has gone wrong in Washington's start. They allowed two high, lazy fly balls to drop on the outfield grass in a four-run third inning for the Red Sox. They committed one fielding error in the infield, allowed a passed ball and watched as Jordan Zimmerman plunked Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in back-to-back at-bats. They were humiliated 9-4 in the Red Sox home opener. Their ace pitcher was on the mound Tuesday to try and stem the tide. Stephen Strasburg instead allowed 10 hits and five runs and lasted just 5.1 innings. Still, he left with the lead after his team scored six in the fifth. But then the National League powerhouse turned into little leaguers in the seventh, committing three errors on routine plays and allowing the Red Sox to steal an 8-7 win. It's only eight games in but these Nationals are 2-6 and national nightmare to watch, for fans and manager alike. "It's the same recipe," lamented Williams. "If you put all the ingredients the same way every time, you're going to get the same meal," That's what we've been getting. There's nothing to be said that hasn't already been said. We got the pitches we wanted to get and didn't make the plays. That's the same recipe. That's all I've got for you." Is there anything Williams is seeing from his players that would lead him to think their tight? "That's all I've got for you. There's nothing else I can say," Williams said. "I don't notice anything other than we scored seven runs tonight, which is a good sign. If you continue to kick the ball around, you're going to lose, bottom line. So, that being said, we have to do better, have to do better starting [Wednesday] and give ourselves a chance to win. The last two games we haven't given ourselves a chance." The latest last straw for Williams came as he watched the bottom of the seventh, with his team leading 7-5. Hanley Ramirez hits a routine grounder up the middle that Ian Desmond booted. That error was a sign of things to come. After Shane Victorino became the second of three Red Sox batters hit by a pitch, the Red Sox were rallying. Mike Napoli flew out but Allen Craig was drilled by a pitch. Bases loaded and one out. Then the little league Nationals reared their ugly heads. Reliever Blake Treinen got a slow comebacker from Ryan Hanigan. He was going to underhand it to his catcher for the second out. Instead, he dropped the ball and then in his haste, fired the ball past his catcher. Two runs scored. Tie game. Then Brock Holt hits a grounder to Desmond in perfect position to throw home to get Craig. Instead, Desmond inexplicably threw to first base for the second out, allowing the go-ahead run to score. "That's why we're playing him there. We've got to try to get that play at the plate," Williams said. "If the ball bounces funny, he bobbles it, he doesn't have a clean grip, then we want to get an out for sure. But we want to get that guy at the plate. It could've been a shot. It was a good break by the runner. He's going on contact. It was a shot. "He didn't catch it cleanly. The first order of business is to catch it. It's the same recipe. We can go over it a million times but at this point, all I've got for you is if you put the same ingredients together like we have in the last two games, you're going to get the same meal. It doesn't taste very good." How do you change the ingredients? "Catch the baseball," Williams said.