Matt Williams ‘not concerned’ about Nationals’ play


Matt Williams on his players: “The only thing I’m apprehensive about is how they feel about themselves.”  (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The Nationals’ four-error performance Thursday night became a three-error game Friday afternoon, when the Nationals Park official scorer changed the liner Jayson Werth lost in the lights from an error to a double for Yadier Molina. It didn’t exactly take the sting off their unsightly 8-0 loss, the still-an-MLB-high 19 errors or the eighth straight losses to the Cardinals.

Manager Matt Williams still came to the park today with the psyche of his team on his mind. He wants the Nationals to not lose their confidence after a week of games when they have seldom led, or a season when they have not defeated elite teams.

Williams said he had about 15 conversations with players to gauge their mind-set. “My job as a manager,” he said, “is to make sure our guys are okay.” Thursday night, Williams expressed anger. Friday afternoon, while speaking to the media, he seemed to pat them on the back.

“I’m not concerned,” Williams said. “The only thing that I’m apprehensive about is how they feel about themselves. It’s frustrating when you find yourself down early. It’s frustrating when you make errors. It’s frustrating when you don’t get the guy in or move him to third. Any of those things. I want them to understand they’ve got talent. This is a good team. Things have not necessarily gone our way yet, as I see it, but nonetheless, we’re 9-7. They’re fighting hard. Their intensity level is there. I just want them to realize the ebbs and flows of the season are going to be this way sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you don’t fight. That doesn’t mean you don’t go out each day with intensity and a very short memory, good, bad or indifferent, about the day before. Am I concerned? I’m not concerned. I’m optimistic, as I think they are. I have sleepless nights, because I’m worried about how they’re feeling about themselves and how they’re going about it. With all that’s gone on with injuries and not playing the game the way we want to play the game yet, those are the things that concern me, or make me think.”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.

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Adam Kilgore · April 18, 2014