Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez discussed what he’d identified as one of the issues for his struggling offense after the third straight loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital.
“We’ve got to start,” he began, before shifting gears slightly, “as the games get in progress, we’ve got to start taking our walks again. That’s, for me, our offense, if they’re going to just walk us, walk us. Don’t just start chasing. Just take our walks and get on base for the next guy.”
Was it a trend he’d observed when things weren’t going well at the plate for his team?
“I noticed that we’re starting to chase pitches outside the strike zone,” Martinez said, “... so we’ve just got to concentrate on just taking our walks, get on base for the next guy. We’ve got to create length in our lineup, and that’s one way to do it.”
The injuries don’t help of course, and they’ve been coming on a daily basis lately it seems, but as the first-year skipper said, it’s his job, and the team’s job, to go out there with their available options and do the things they need to do to win.
“My concern is,” Martinez said before Monday’s series opener with the San Diego Padres, “I want these guys back, of course, [but my concern] is the 25 guys that are on roster right now that are going to help us win a game. We try to construct lineups and everything based on those 25 guys, and it will be different, guys will hit in different places in the lineup, but I’m going to try to do the best I can to get those guys in a position where they’re going to succeed, and thus far it hasn’t been bad. Those guys, like I said, they’re positive, they play with a lot of heart, and it’s been a lot of fun. So, I’ve got a great bunch of guys, wouldn’t trade them in for anything. Everybody knows we’re hurt, but I’m proud of what these guys are doing.”
Rookie outfielder Juan Soto, in his second plate appearance in the majors, sparked the Nats’ offense with a three-run home run in his first trip to the plate last night, and the Nationals scored five runs total in the second, and ten runs in the game, on 15 hits, going 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“When [Soto] hit that ball, everybody was jacked up,” Martinez acknowledged, “... and shortly after that we hit the ball pretty good.”
Bryce Harper homered as well, and Mark Reynolds hit two, his third and fourth in his first six games since joining the Nationals on the last road trip. Martinez said he’s still surprised that Reynolds was available when he signed with the Nationals in mid-April, coming off a 30-HR season in Colorado in 2017.
“For me,” Martinez said, “if you watched him over the last few years, he’s had unbelievable years over the last few years, his batting average, his on-base percentage, his home runs, driving in runs, everything, so I’m really happy that we were able to sign him and get him here. It took some injuries, but he’s here now and he’s making the most out of his playing time, and helping us win games, and I love it. He’s another guy that’s good to have around. Veteran guy, knows the game, guys feed off of him.”
Was it the Padres’ pitching more than a sign of change for the Nationals? Will the two new additions to the lineup, Soto and Reynolds, who are both back in there tonight, light a fire under the offense again?