Mike Rizzo reacts to Nats' 'epic' comeback win over Mets

Chris Lingebach
September 04, 2019 - 2:08 pm

What the Nationals were able to do against the Mets Tuesday night, erasing a six-run deficit en route to a walk-off win, was a testament to the "professional hitters" up and down their lineup, GM Mike Rizzo says.

The 2019 Nationals are one of the more resilient iterations of the club he's seen, Rizzo told The Sports Junkies during his weekly appearance Wednesday, presented by Burke & Herbert Bank.

"It is true. It's a team that, first of all, it's a long, deep lineup with professional hitters," Rizzo said. "Even the young kids are professional hitters. Credit goes to Davey (Martinez) and (hitting coach) Kevin Long for the type of attitude and grit that's instilled in these guys. They just don't want to give up an at-bat. It's kind of a competition up and down the lineup. Like I said, it's a deep, professional hitting lineup."

"When your guys off the bench are Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick, and now Ryan Zimmerman and Gerardo Parra and those type of guys, that's a tough lineup and a tough roster to navigate for any pitcher and it shows," he said. "You can't make many mistakes against these guys, and when you do, they often make you pay.

"Sometimes when things go poorly, like against Syndergaard the other day, you just gotta tip your hat. When you can put that kind of performance against this lineup, you've had yourself a great day on the mound. But day in and day out, from the beginning of this season till today, they've given us a chance to stay in games and to win games, and it's a credit to that coaching staff for keeping these guys in the mindset that they are."

Related:

It was the largest ninth-inning deficit the Nats had ever overcome, scoring seven runs to win it 11-10, an "epic win right there," Rizzo says.

"Just as far as to get yourself off the mat after giving up so many late runs and tack-on runs," he said. "We played a poor game last night. Let's face it. It was sloppy. We were making mental mistakes. We made some physical mistakes. You got deGrom and Scherzer going. The people that thought they were gonna score 21 runs with deGrom and Scherzer pitching that game, they need to go to Vegas, right?"

"It was just an epic win in the fact that these guys just keep grinding out," Rizzo continued. "They don't give away at-bats. I mean those are easy giveaway at-bats with (Edwin) Diaz on the mound and the game is in the bag for the Mets. Nobody gave up an at-bat. You get base hit after base hit. Now this was an epic comeback, mostly because these were all base hits, they were all hit hard.

"Often times when teams give up that many runs in the ninth or eighth inning, you're making errors, and you're walking people, making errors and you're giving openings to a team. These balls were all barreled up, including Howie Kendrick's out that went to the warning track."

"It was just some outstanding at-bats, culminated by a huge at-bat by Ryan Zimmerman," he went on. "Right-on-right with Diaz and Zimmerman. He hits that prototypical Zimmerman hit where it's a line drive to right center. And then you've got, to me, one of the best fastball hitters on our team up against a guy throwing a hundred miles an hour from low three-quarter slot, right against right.

"He fouls off two or three tough pitches, spit on a couple of tough sliders, and then he hits a 100-mile-an-hour fastball about 420 to walk it off. It was a crazy victory."

Every week, all baseball season, if any Washington player hits for the cycle during a Wednesday game, one lucky fan wins a cool $100K. Click here to enter the Burke & Herbert "Bank On The Cycle" contest!