Nationals manager Matt Williams said his team must move on quickly from its 18-inning, 2-1 loss to the Giants on Saturday, which put Washington in a 2-0 hole in the teams’ best-of-five National League Division Series.
But he admitted Sunday that one decision he made continued to haunt him long after the game ended.
Williams removed starter Jordan Zimmermann with two outs and a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning after Zimmermann walked Joe Panik. Zimmermann had retired 20 consecutive batters. The move backfired when closer Drew Storen gave up a single to Buster Posey and a game-tying double to Pablo Sandoval that forced extras.
“Anytime you make a decision on something and it doesn’t work, you kick yourself,” said Williams, a former Giant. “I kicked myself on that. That’s human nature.”
Williams, though, said he remained comfortable with his reasoning for the decision. He said Posey’s previous at-bats against Zimmermann suggested Storen would be the better matchup for Washington and that having given Zimmermann a chance at the complete game, it was “standard practice” to have his closer up and ready when a runner reached base in a one-run game.
“Now, could you say that it was the wrong move? Of course you can,” Williams said. “Could you say it was the right move? Yes, you could say that as well. It didn’t work out. That being said, yeah, I kick myself for bringing Drew in and having him tie the game.
“Beyond that, we had nine more innings to win it. So that’s how I look at it.”
Et cetera – The Nationals held an optional workout Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park after arriving in San Francisco early in the morning. The Giants did not practice; their flight landed around 5:30 a.m.
“I really didn’t want them to come to the park,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Just get a break. They played 18 innings, plus we played (the wild-card game Wednesday) in Pittsburgh. I mean, that was a road trip we were on.”
In the second inning, Gregor Blanco hit a liner that struck the top of Fister’s head and ricocheted into shallow center field. Fister dropped briefly to his knee but bounced up quickly and stayed in after the Tigers’ medical staff rushed out to check him.
“I was kind of shocked that he stayed in,” Bumgarner recalled. “I’d say there’s not a whole lot of guys that would want to stay in after that, so that speaks about his character and about his competitiveness.”
Fister, a Merced native, said he has seen video of the play “many times” but has moved on from the incident.
“It’s not something that gives me chills or anything,” Fister said. “It’s something that I’ve gone back and looked at just to know that, you know what, hey, I’m OK.”
“Buster, I think, said: ‘If they would have called me safe, they probably wouldn’t have overturned it,’ ” said Bochy, who unsuccessfully challenged the call. “When I saw it up there on the scoreboard, I was sure he was safe. But then you look at it, his foot came up a little, and it’s hard to tell.”