Chris Russell: Nats fans blaming Dave Martinez 'exclusively' are 'insane'

Chris Lingebach
May 02, 2019 - 6:20 pm

The Nationals are scuffling into dangerous territory, losing nine of their last 12 games, and fans seem to be growing increasingly frustrated with manager Dave Martinez.

With the Nats in an extended rain delay Thursday, 106.7 The Fan turned the stick over to Chris Russell to field angry phone calls from those fans. One caller, Tom in Alexandria, thinks there's a disconnect between how fans and local media feel about the second-year manager.

"My Twitter feed, the fans are against him. It's almost universal," Tom said. "The fans want him gone."

That's left Tom wondering if local media are reluctant to criticize Martinez because he's such a nice guy.

"I have no relationship at all with Dave Martinez, so you're gonna get honest from me," Russell said. "To blame him exclusively, largely or mostly is ridiculous, so that's what I'll say. I have no relationship. I have no relation to protect. I really don't care. To blame him largely, or exclusively or mostly is utterly absurd. Not when you have the injuries and the situations going on.

"Does he have to do things differently? Of course. Does he have to get his guys going? Of course. Does he say some things that rub you the wrong way – the 'points' and, you know, 'the boys' thing? Of course. Is he the greatest manager in the world? No. Does he need to do a better job? Yes. This entire organization needs to do a better job, so that's how I'll end it."

Russell's airtight defense of the manager carried over to the next segment.

"Again, I have no relationship at all to protect with Dave Martinez," he said. "When I say it's not all his fault, I think I am being reasonable, honest, rational, normal, not insane. Most fans are insane.

"And the easiest person to blame for everybody's problems is the head coach, the manager – or the one figure that they can just think that goes doo-duh-duh-doo-doo, duh-duh-doo-doo, and pre-programs a bunch of robots, and everything should work efficiently and right."

Kids Are Gonna Homer And Make Mistakes

"You know, here's the thing," Russell carried on. "Three kids hit home runs the other day and we celebrated that like they won a championship around here, right? That's all great. Three kids are gonna make mistakes. Kids are gonna make mistakes. Veterans are gonna make mistakes. Relief pitchers are gonna go up and down, performance by performance.

"Starting pitching – you know, this organization has long believed in starting pitching being the end-all, be-all, and it's never really performed that great in the postseason, if we're being quite honest with ya. It's been okay. It's been alright. It's been fairly good. It hasn't been great. Not for the amount of resources and the philosophy that they've built around here."

"And the starting pitching this year has been up and down," he continued. "It has been. I mean, if we're just being honest, it has been. Just when you think, alright, that's what we continue to hang our hat on when the bullpen stinks and the offense is beat up and shredded like mozzarella. Well, then, the starting pitching has a week like, quite honestly, the last week."

"What also has to be concerning is you haven't been able to win at home," Russell went on to say. "Not only have you not been able to win first games of series, now you've lost three in a row, you've lost five out of six, and really, quite honestly, six out of seven going back to last Wednesday in Colorado."

So, to answer your previous question, that's what's wrong with the Washington Nationals.

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