Werth, according to the report, was upset that Williams had not extended the typical courtesy of notifying him ahead of time that he was being given the day off on Aug. 22. It was not the first time Werth, typically an everyday player, had arrived at the ballpark to find his name missing form the lineup card.
From Svrluga’s report:
Incensed, Werth ripped the lineup card off the wall, bellowing that it was going to change. Then, according to several people who were present, he confronted Williams — not just about whether he would play that day, but about what most of the clubhouse considered to be a chronic lack of communication with his players. Among the most jarring barbs, from Werth to Williams: “When exactly do you think you lost this team?”
On the day Werth reportedly confronted Williams, the Nationals sat five games behind the Mets in the NL East, after squandering what was a 4.5-game lead on July 5.
Tension had apparently been high in the clubhouse for weeks at that point. Jon Heyman of CBSSports reported on Aug. 7 that Nationals players thought Williams was “not loose” and “never relaxed,” and also second-guessed his in-game decision making.
Svrluga also reported the day before the Harper-Papelbon fight that “several players” were unhappy with how Williams has managed the clubhouse.
“It’s a terrible environment,” one player told Svrluga. “And the amazing part is everybody feels that way.”
- Dan Gartland