Washington Nationals’ skipper Dave Martinez was asked earlier this winter if he’d adopt his former boss’s habit of occasionally batting his pitcher eighth? Would he be like Joe Maddon in that way, going for the two leadoff hitters thinking? Martinez said then that, yes, he might actually try it sometimes.
“We’re going to be creative,” he said. “We’re looking at different options and different things. You might see it. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. You might see that.”
We’re going to see it in Grapefruit League action this afternoon.
Martinez has today’s starter, Tanner Roark, batting eighth as the Nationals go up against the NL East rival New York Mets, with Wilmer Difo penciled in as the No. 9 hitter and the starting second baseman today.
He also has Bryce Harper leading off (to get him as many at bats as possible and then get him out of there), and Adam Eaton (batting 3rd) and Michael A. Taylor (batting 6th) back in the lineup after each dealt with their respective injury issues and got plenty of at bats in Minor League games recently.
Here’s what Martinez had to say about his lineup construction when he spoke to reporters in West Palm Beach before today’s game:
Martinez said hitting pitcher eighth “isn’t going to be a habit,” but they’ll consider it. Feels like he can get extra men on base in front of the heart of the order when he sets the lineup that way.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 17, 2018
Martinez said batting the pitcher 8th “isn’t going to be a habit” but might happen a few times if the matchup is right. Likes the idea of a second leadoff hitter in some situations.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 17, 2018
Martinez seemed to like the idea of having the pitcher hit 8th. Said it “wouldn’t be a habit” but might try it pending the matchup during the regular season— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) March 17, 2018
Roark is making his fifth start of the Spring, having held hitters to a .178 AVG through 12 innings so far in Grapefruit League action, giving up eight hits and five runs (3 ER), with three walks and 10 Ks in his first four outings.
All of the action is available in the nation’s capital on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. (with that feed available via MLB dot com as well) with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler calling the action as the Nationals and Mets go at it...