Matt Adams did his best to make Davey Martinez look like a genius. Inserted into the lineup at first base, batting fourth on Saturday afternoon, the hard-hitting left-handed bat, who signed a 1-year/$4M free agent deal with Washington this winter, took a 97 mph 2-1 fastball from Reds’ starter Luis Castillo for a ride to right for a no-doubter of a three-run home run in the top of the first, 3-0.
Big City. Big Fly. pic.twitter.com/vmtfvAdbAm— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 31, 2018
Coming off a .274/.319/.522, 22 double, 20 home run, 1.6 fWAR campaign split between St. Louis and Atlanta, Adams joined the Nationals as a replacement for bench bat Adam Lind, giving the Nats’ new manager power off the bench and someone who can fill in at first and play left field.
“Matty, he can drive in runs,” Martinez told reporters before the second of three with the Reds in Cincinnati, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“That’s the one thing we look at with him. We’ve got to put him in situations where we feel like he can be successful. He’s a big part of what we’re going to do. Like I’ve said before, he could play every day on any other team. I’m fortunate enough to have him here with us, and I want to get him his at-bats.”
Martinez, who assured everyone nothing was wrong with Ryan Zimmerman, and said he had planned on using this lineup beforehand as he tries to get everyone going early, added that in his mind, it was a good matchup with Castillo on the mound, so he went with Adams over Zim, and Brian Goodwin in center over Michael A. Taylor, opting to use his left-handed bats.
“He’s got an electric fastball, good changeup, good slider, he kind of throws three-quarters. I think it’s probably a little easier, more visible for left-handed hitters. So I thought to get the lefties in there today would be a good opportunity.”
In his first 15 major league starts last season, Castillo held lefties to a .185/.261/.370 line, vs his .216/.295/.351 against right-handed hitters, with 15 of 26 extra base hits he surrendered in 2017 (eight doubles, two triples, and five home runs) hit by left-handers.
Adams got to the Reds’ right-hander early this afternoon, and gave Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg a 3-0 lead to work with before Strasburg even took the mound.
Adams ended the day 1 for 4 with the a run scored and three RBIs.
Note: Martinez also started Brian Goodwin in center today, replacing Michael A. Taylor, who started the season opener. Goodwin went 2 for 5 with a grand slam, two runs scored and four RBIs.
Just your run-of-the-mill, 9th-inning insurance grand slam. pic.twitter.com/YbXT1UdE9W— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 31, 2018
“They did the job,” Martinez said after the Nationals’ 13-7 win. “They’re part of this team.
“That’s what I said. And we’ve got to keep them engaged, and get them in there. They get it, their teammates get it. It was nice to see them contribute today, and they were jacked up.”