The craziness of the past week actually 'brought us together,' Adam Eaton says

Chris Lingebach
August 02, 2018 - 2:44 pm

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In a 162-game season, there's the media portrayal of a clubhouse and how things actually are, two images that don't always coincide.

Over the past several weeks, reports have swirled around the Nationals clubhouse that all is not right; relievers chirping to the media about manager Dave Martinez's misuse of the pitching staff, that "the clubhouse is a mess."

If Tuesday's trade deadline proved anything about the Nats, it's that, after the subtraction of Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley, the club is ready to move forward and focus on one, and one thing, only.


"You're either in or you're in the way," GM Mike Rizzo said after designating Shawn Kelley for assignment. "I thought he was in the way."

That blunt phrasing may be just the sort of gross oversimplification the Nats needed to hear.

The portrayal of this or that, who's talking to who, how perception measures up against the view from inside 1500 S Capitol St – it's all needless, and serves to distract from the point that Washington needs only to win.

What's the mood in the clubhouse, after the swirling winds of the past 72 hours?

"As crazy as it may sound," right fielder Adam Eaton told Grant & Danny on Thursday, "I think it kind of has brought us together, because I think Rizzo's showing that he's on our side and that this is business. We need to get down to business sooner or later. We're tired of playing around. We're tired of, again, things that aren't focused on winning baseball games, aren't focused on winning pitch by pitch."

"You know, as cliche as that sounds," he went on, "when you have things that are taking away from that – say, Kintzler, or, say, Shawn – again, Rizzo giving us the confidence that, boys, we're going to focus on pitch by pitch and that's just how we're going to go about things."

The Nats have responded by ripping off two straight wins since the deadline.

One – Tuesday's 25-4 win over the Mets – served as a record-setter for both clubs; the most runs scored in franchise history by Washington, and the most lopsided defeat in Mets history. And then the Nats gutted out a 5-3 victory over seven innings of three-hit ball from starter Tommy Milone, who went from pitching in Syracuse two weeks ago to out-dueling Noah Syndergaard on Wednesday.

"I think we've responded the correct way and I think we'll continue to respond," Eaton said. "I think we've got a lot of wins in this next week to 10 days on the schedule and we've got to make the most of it and start making headway in the division."

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