BOSTON -- The Nationals are showing signs of life on offense. In the last two games, they have scored 17 runs and are 9-for-22 with runners in scoring position.
Prior to Tuesday, the offense was stagnant, which meant the pitchers had to be perfect on the mound and the defense couldn't afford to make errors -- and they made plenty of them. Manager Matt Williams believes his position players were more aggressive at the plate against the Red Sox on Tuesday and in Wednesday's 10-5 win.
"They are just swinging at the pitches they want to swing at," Williams said. "With the short porch here, you get a ball that's inner half and you can hit it over the fence. The biggest part is that they're getting in hitters' counts and taking advantage of it. It's what we want to do."
Before the season started, many picked the Nationals to go to the World Series. But after the season started, they didn't play like a championship team, losing six out of their first eight games. Were the Nationals putting too much pressure on themselves? Catcher Wilson Ramos seems to think so.
"I think a lot of eyes are on the team," Ramos said. "Everybody has big expectations for the team. They want to see the Nationals do everything right. But baseball is not perfect. You can make errors. You can strike out. You can do bad things. But you have to make an adjustment to do good things and play good baseball.
"I think yesterday and today, we were more relaxed. We just go out there and enjoy the game. That's what we need. We need to go out there and just play baseball. We don't have to feel too much pressure."
Outfielder Bryce Harper said it was a matter of time before the Nationals broke out of their slump. In the last two games, Harper has gone 3-for-9 with three runs scored to raise his batting average to .250.
"I mean, we expect to play like that," Harper said. "We've got a great lineup and we think we're going to win. We should be able to do what we did today. Of course, sometimes it's not going to work out, but today we swung very well. We should play like that every time."