WASHINGTON -- The situation looks bleak right now for the Nationals, who entered Friday's game against the Phillies 15 1/2 games out of first in the National League East and nine back in the Wild Card race. A home sweep to the Braves that ended on Wednesday came as a huge setback, but manager Davey Johnson isn't ready to give up on the season.
"Now's the time everyone's kind of written us off," he said. "Now's a good time to do something special."
The team's sub-.500 play after last year's division title has confounded Johnson and his team, but it hasn't left them accepting their fate.
"There's no resignation in that room over there, and certainly not with me," Johnson said, pointing toward the team's clubhouse. "It's probably more frustrating for me, because I keep searching and keep thinking, 'What can I do to make it easier for the guys to perform?'"
Johnson likes the talent in the organization but talked about the range of factors that have contributed to this season's disappointing performance -- from trying too hard under the pressure of expectations to the struggles of the bench and bullpen.
"Everyone has to contribute," he said. "Myself and everybody around here, we're all partially to blame because we're all not doing the things we're capable of doing. It's very simple."
One thing Johnson isn't worried about is a letdown.
"There's a lot of pride," he said. "I think the makeup will really show itself these last 48 games."
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.