Though he’s one of several Nationals who is off to a slow start at the plate this season, Trea Turner appears to be heating up over the last week.
In the first two games of Washington’s three-game set with the New York Mets in Citi Field, the 24-year-old infielder went 5 for 9 with two doubles and a walk, his 15th of the season, which was tied for third in the majors in walks. (Bryce Harper led all MLB hitters with 23 going into last night’s game, and added a 24th).
Turner had reached base in five-straight games heading into the finale in New York, going 7 for 18 (.389 AVG), with all three of his doubles on the season, six of his 13 walks, and four of eight runs scored over that stretch.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked after Tuesday night’s game, in which Turner went 3 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored, about the positive signs he was seeing from his shortstop.
Here's your nightly Trea Turner defensive highlight. #NationalsTREAsure pic.twitter.com/0Nuj0TAXFO— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 19, 2018
“He’s taking pitches,” Martinez said.
“He’s keeping the ball in the strike zone, and now he’s not missing his pitches. When he starts doing that he’s fun to watch, he really is, but he’s, like I said, he’s been getting his walks, and now he’s getting his hits, so he’s getting us going.”
Tuesday’s three-hit game followed a 2 for 5 night in the series opener, and Turner said after the second of three with the Mets, he was starting to feel more comfortable at the plate.
“I started getting those hits yesterday, and then my last at bat I felt really good,” Turner told reporters in Citi Field.
“I’ve felt good for a while, but now I’m starting to see some more results, I guess.”
His slow start coming into the series, 12 for 59 (.203/.356/.271), a double, a home run, 14 walks, 14 Ks, and six stolen bases, Turner said, looked worse than it was.
“I think the beginning of the season is definitely overplayed a lot of times,” he explained.
“People get off to hot starts, slow starts, whatever, maybe and people blow it out of proportion.”
His manager, he said on Tuesday, has stressed the importance of playing clean games while everyone gets going, and focused on doing the little things right while they wait for it to get warmer, and wait for some of the cold bats in the lineup to heat up.
“His No. 1 rule from Day 1 was, ‘Don’t give them more than 27 outs,” Turner said.
“I guess that’s more of a defensive mindset, I guess, but it’s still playing the game clean, and then when we get more than 27 outs on offense, it makes it harder on them.”
After a couple mid-40° days in Citi Field, the Nationals’ next stop in Los Angeles will be a welcome reprieve from the East Coast weather early this season.
“Hopefully LA is going to be warm,” Turner said, “and then I think we’ve got to go back to cold in San Francisco.”