Over seven games played in the Washington Nationals’ recently-completed homestand, Ben Revere began to show signs of life at the plate.
Revere, 28, suffered an oblique injury on Opening Day and missed over a month at the start of the season, and he struggled to get up to speed, putting up a .213/.260/.291 line over his first 70 games and 289 plate appearances with the Nationals, who traded for the outfielder this winter.
Dusty Baker talked to reporters in late July about whether or not there were still lingering injury concerns as Revere continued to struggle.
"I think he's healthy," Baker said. "I questioned that myself, but like I told you when we started the season, when you start the season hurt, you're playing catch-up the whole time, and we would have hoped that he would have caught up by now, but for guys that I've seen that start the season like -- heck I've only had one other guy get hurt in his first at bat and that was -- in Cincinnati ... he got hurt the very, very first at bat and it makes for a long year and like I said you're playing catch-up and I'm hoping because we need Ben, we need him badly.
"He's our igniter. Not only do we need him, but the guys that are following him in the order need him hopefully to put the pitcher in the stretch and have to worry about a guy with speed."
Baker said then that he understood the frustration Revere must be feeling as he failed to get things going at the plate.
“We see the season [winding] down and you're still in the low .200s and you're not used to that,” Baker sympathized.
“He'll tell you, 'I'm a .300 hitter,' but you've got to believe and seriously, seriously deep down inside believe that. And it might be too late to hit .300, but you don't know.”
Revere went just 2 for 13 in the first give games in August, but in the five games that followed, he collected three multi-hit games, going 7 for 19 (.368 AVG) with a double, two triples, a walk and seven runs scored.
Baker told reporters after Revere went 2 for 4 with two triples and two runs scored in the Nationals’ 4-2 win over the Braves that he was glad to see Revere take advantage of the opportunities he’s given after he looked like the odd man out until some injuries provided him another opportunity.
“That’s what you wanted to see,” Baker said. “That’s why I kept playing him, because the guy is a .300 hitter. I know a lot of people wanted me to bench him, but you can’t find it on the bench, and fortunately for us, Ben is coming around.
“I batted him eighth for a while to take some of the pressure off of him, at bats off him, put him back in the second slot and fortunately for him we had some injuries and he got another opportunity to get his act together. So he’s been playing outstanding center field.”
Revere wrapped the homestand up with a 1 for 4 day in which he scored three runs scored, leaving him with a .218/.267/.307 line, six doubles, seven triples, two homers and 11 steals after 316 PAs.
He might not get close to his .287/.322/.344 career averages after the rough start, but a strong finish could go a long way towards erasing the memory of his first few months in a Nationals uniform.
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