Trea Turner went 0 for 13 with six Ks in Washington’s three-game set in Citizens Bank Park this past weekend, so Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker decided to give his 23-year-old shortstop a night off in the series opener in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
“Just more of a mental day than anything,” Baker explained before last night’s game.
“Because he’s played every day since he got back from being hurt. It just looked like his concentration and everything just wasn’t the same.
“I could tell he was starting to worry a little bit, quite a bit. So, you hate to take it off in this series, but you’ve got to consider the long run.”
Baker went on to explain that he’s always got the long run in mind when he’s trying to get his players the right amount of rest.
“This game is so mental,” he said. “Everybody sees the physical part of the game, but most of the time — just like when you hit a guy well, it’s mental and you think, ‘I can hit him,’ and when you can’t get a guy out on the other side most of it is mental.”
The veteran skipper has talked often about how he came to his thinking about resting his players when necessary, and he reiterated again on Monday that he got some sage advice from an old teammate.
“I remember Hank Aaron used to tell us to take an average two days off a month,” Baker explained.
“So you end up playing 150 games, and there’s twelve games there where you’re not there, I don’t care who you are, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, just some days you’re occupying ink on the lineup card, because your concentration just isn’t the same.”
Through 22 games this season, Turner has put up a .270/.316/.449 line with eight doubles, a triple, two home runs, and six stolen bases.
He’s back atop the lineup tonight in the second game of the four-game series with the Orioles.