Washington Nationals’ skipper Dave Martinez talked about switching things up in his lineup all Spring. He’s discussed having Bryce Harper lead off, talked about why he might hit Trea Turner sixth at times, and admitted that he will on occasion have the pitcher hitting eighth like his mentor Joe Maddon sometimes would.
“We’re going to do some different things, that’s all I’m going to tell you,” Martinez said this week as he prepared for his first Opening Day as a big league skipper.
As he’s noted since he was hired in the nation’s capital, Martinez told reporters he is going to make his decisions, “... based on information and based on how we feel. We’re going to construct lineups accordingly on information.”
“It’s fair to say that we will look into everything and figure out what the best lineup is for that particular day, so there will be changes,” he explained.
Asked if he’ll stick with a lineup if it’s working though, rather than risk messing with things if they’re going good, Martinez turned to a time-tested maxim.
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” he said.
“The biggest thing for me is keeping these guys healthy for 162 games, so if we deem we need a day off for somebody, regardless if we’re winning seven or eight games in a row, nine games in a row, they’re going to get the day off. If you look at the guys we have, we have guys that are role players that could play every day for anybody else, so I’m excited about being able to have these guys, one, and being able to utilize them, not just as a pinch hitter, but to get them at bats, consistent at bats.”
While he seems receptive to statistical analysis, and has said all Spring that it will factor into his decision-making, Martinez also said this week that most of the decisions are fairly easy.
“It’s really, a lot of it is common sense really, what happens and what we do,” he said. “Like I said, some of the stuff is based on information that I know about our players and opponents and how we feel we need to proceed in the game. Every game is different, so we take the information, and we use it wisely, with that being said, a big component is the human factor, and I do believe in that, you know, and knowing when guys need rest, and knowing when guys are mentally struggling, stuff like that, so that’s also for me, huge in constructing different lineups for different days.”
The one lingering question this Spring, after Ryan Zimmerman (in consultation with his new manager and the Nationals’ brass), decided to get his work done in Minor League games in Florida rather than take part in Grapefruit League action, was whether the veteran was hurt in some way the Nats weren’t sharing. Both Zimmerman and his manager assured reporters all Spring that the first baseman was fine, and just decided that was how he wanted to do it this time around.
Martinez said on Tuesday that though Zimmerman wasn’t playing in the final exhibition, he would be in the lineup on Opening Day.
“My concern is Zim and how he feels,” Martinez reiterated, “... and we worked out a plan for him and it worked out really well. He’s healthy, he feels good, he made a comment about how this is the best Spring he’s had and he feels great, so I’m looking forward to getting him on the field Opening Day, and we asked him, you know, how he was feeling, he said he feels great. We asked him if he wants to get some at bats today, and he said he wants to stick to the game plan, so that’s what we did.”
Given his first opportunity to write out a lineup card as a manager, what did he do? Is Zim in there? You don’t have to wait any longer to find out...