The Washington Nationals called a players-only meeting on Wednesday after a 3-0 defeat to the Boston Red Sox marked their fifth straight loss and sent the team below .500 at 42-43 for the first time since May 2.
The meeting lasted approximately 15 minutes and was called by the club's veterans. Ace right-hander Max Scherzer did the majority of the talking.
"I think, as a clubhouse, we know we're a good team," star outfielder Bryce Harper told reporters after the meeting. "We can go out there and compete with everybody. We have to keep grinding, keep doing our thing, and good things will happen. We've never been in this position before, and I think it's an exciting time for us. In years past, we've won the division by a lot of games, and we're able to be behind right now. I'm excited to get out there and test it."
The Nationals, whom many projected as the favorite to win the National League East, are seven games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves after Wednesday's results. The loss to Boston was Washington's 21st in the past 30 games following a six-game winning streak in late May.
Since the start of June, the Nationals have been shut out eight times.
"Let's get this thing going," Washington shortstop Trea Turner said. "I think we all know that we are capable of playing better baseball, and it's time we do it. It's do or die now."
Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton added, "I think a lot of guys are approaching it as, 'This is good for us,' We needed to take our lumps now and play some meaningful games. ... Hopefully, we can scrape and claw and really find out what kind of team we have here.
"At one point or another, this team is going to do what it's made to do and how it's built. Looking forward to that."
Despite the skid, rookie manager Dave Martinez still has confidence in his team's ability to turn things around.
"I'm not giving up on the boys," Martinez said. "They're gonna get it. When they get it, there's gonna be something really fun. I know that. I can't hit for them. I can't play the game for them. But I promise you that I'm in that batter's box with them, hoping that they come through every day.
"When I go home, I think of ways of how to face things. I look at these guys, and they're playing their hearts out. They really are. (We've) just got to stick with it. This thing's gonna turn around."
--Field Level Media