Dusty Baker hit for Anthony Rendon late in the final game of the last homestand when the Miami Marlins sent closer A.J. Ramos out to the mound with a lead, prompting questions about his confidence in Rendon at the plate.
Baker explained that it was more about trying to take advantage of the splits vs the right-hander (who is pretty good against left and right-hander) and take advantage of the fact that an available pinch hitter, Daniel Murphy, (who sat out that afternoon) has been swinging a hot bat all season.
As for Rendon, he was already starting to heat up at that point, though he still had a .227/.314/.313 line on the year when he was done for the day last Sunday.
Baker told reporters that the 25-year-old, 2011 1st Round pick was hard at work behind the scenes attempting to get things going with the bat.
"Rick Schu and Jacque [Jones] and him are constantly trying to find out what the problem is. And it's just that right now it seems like he's not catching up -- getting the bat head out front. And so, we know Anthony can hit, everybody knows that Anthony can hit, but when you miss as much time as he missed last year, he's got to find his groove again and we know Anthony's going to hit, big time."
Rendon finished the six-game homestand 7 for 25 (.280/.419/.360) with two doubles and a home run, six walks and eight Ks in 31 plate appearances.
He collected hits in all three games against the New York Mets in Citi Field this week too, going 6 for 10 with a double, two walks and K in 12 PAs.
Rendon doubled in two runs in the third, hit an opposite field single to right in the fifth, and singled to left in the sixth last night.
In his last ten games, going back to the start of the last homestand, Rendon is 13 for 35 (.371/.488/.457) with three doubles, eight walks and nine Ks.
Baker talked after last night's 9-1 win over the Mets in New York about seeing positive things from his third baseman at the plate.
"You see guys like Anthony driving in runs, that makes you feel good, and the guys are saying, hey, man, this is the Anthony that they know."
Rendon is back hitting sixth again tonight in the series opener with the Marlins.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for tonight's game:
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