Ian Desmond had some interesting thoughts on the Nationals' season-long struggles and their current collective state of mind after tonight's 3-1 10-inning loss to the Dodgers.
One of the more thoughtful, forthcoming players in the Nationals clubhouse, Desmond will tell it how he sees it. And tonight, after being a part of an offensive performance that again was subpar, Desmond said he felt the approach tonight was fine, but the results were just lacking.
"I can only speak for myself," Desmond said. "I'm trying just as hard with nobody on base as I am with a guy on base. It's a game of averages. Sometimes you get hits, sometimes you don't. Obviously, there's talent involved and also some luck, but you've just got to keep on going, put your best foot forward.
"I'm sure everyone's sick of hearing it, but it's got to turn around at some point. And if it doesn't, then we're going to keep on trying until we run out of time."
Despite all that's gone wrong this season, despite the fact that the Nats are now back below .500, they remain optimistic that they'll be able to turn things around. The hasn't been any open dissention in the clubhouse. The players' spirits have remained fairly high, or at least as high as they can be when your team has lost more games than it's won.
"We're professionals, I think, first of all," Desmond said, explaining the morale. "We get paid to come out here and play as hard as we can every day - win, loss, whatever. And basically, that's our job. I'm not going to sit here and say that we're playing as good as we should be. I'm also not going to say that this is the end of the road. I don't know what else to say, besides it's going to be fine. We're going to get better and we're going to be the players that we know we are. I think sometimes you got to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Are you doing what you're supposed to be doing?
"I don't think you could do any better than what we're doing (morale-wise). I think a lot of teams under the situation that we're in would probably be a little bit more distressed inside the clubhouse than what we've been. I think we're doing a pretty good job, and I think that will pay off in the end.
"I think this is a clubhouse put together on gamers, and gamers don't just throw the towel in. I don't think there's a guy in here that's ready to surrender the season or do anything like that. We've got some winners, we've got some grinders and we've got some really good ball players. And it's just a matter of time."
Gio Gonzalez backed up Desmond's message, saying that despite the way the Nats have started the second half, they're still optimistic things will turn.
"It's only two games," Gonzalez said. "From the looks of it, the Phillies lost today, the Braves lost today. We didn't lose anything. We didn't lose any ground. Just go out there and continue to keep playing your game. I'm pretty sure these guys are going to wake up and swing the bat and they're going to do their job as a hitting team. You can't hold down this team for long."
Gonzalez threw six scoreless innings tonight, dropping his ERA to 2.89. He tied a career high with 11 strikeouts, but got stuck with the no-decision thanks to a lack of run support.
"It's not disappointing. It was a great match-up," Gonzalez said. "(Zack) Greinke's a great pitcher. You've got to tip your cap to the opponent. They did a good job holding us down and we did the same thing, going out there and trying to hold them down also. It's a good-hitting team and you've got to respect them. And I think it's what people expected: a good pitchers' duel. Especially with a good lineup like that, and our good lineup, it was fun to watch. Gave people what they wanted."