When he filled out his first lineup card for the season opener yesterday, Dave Martinez had Trea Turner batting sixth, something the Washington Nationals’ rookie manager previously explained he might try.
“He’s a pure hitter,” Martinez told reporters earlier this week, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, when he penciled Turner in batting sixth for the exhibition game in D.C. on Tuesday.
“I like the fact he just goes up there and hits. It’s a good opportunity for him to drive in runs, a good opportunity to create havoc in the middle of the lineup when he gets on. And hitting in front of [Michael A.] Taylor, I’m hoping Taylor gets more fastballs. It would be really nice. And watching those two do their thing, it would be nice. I don’t know if that’s something we’re going to do, but I wanted to see what it looked like.”
Apparently, Martinez liked what he saw, because he did the same in the first game of three with the Cincinnati Reds.
Turner hit sixth in the Nationals’ Opening Day lineup, behind leadoff man Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Howie Kendrick, and in front of Taylor, and Matt Wieters.
Martinez was asked before his first regular season game as the Nationals’ skipper about the decision to go with Turner, who’d taken the majority of his at bats as a leadoff man over the course of his first four major league seasons, in the sixth spot.
“I like him there because he’s a pure hitter,” Martinez reiterated, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier, explaining that he thought it would benefit Turner as well.
“He doesn’t have to worry about getting on base. He has to just worry about hitting. If he gets his walks, great. But I want him just worrying about hitting the ball, get on base, cause havoc. With him and [Michael A.] Taylor hitting back to back, I thought that would work really well.”
Did Martinez stick with the same lineup after yesterday’s 2-0 win over the Reds? Not exactly.
Matt Adams is in for Ryan Zimmerman at first, which is sure to get the “Is Zim injured?” talk going again, and Brian Goodwin starts in center with Michael A. Taylor out today.
HERE IS THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR GAME 2 OF 162: