BALTIMORE, MD: Anthony Rendon’s three-run homer in the third inning of Monday’s series opening win over the Orioles provided all the scoring the Nationals needed in what ended up a 6-0 win for Washington.
Rendon went 2 for 5 overall on the afternoon, leaving him 18 for 69 (.261/.363/.565) with six doubles, five home runs, 11 walks, and 11 Ks in 80 plate appearances since he came off a 19-game DL stint for a hairline fracture in his toe.
His consistency at the plate has not escaped the attention of the Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez, who was asked after the Nationals’ fourth straight win what has stood out about his third baseman during their first two months together.
“I think if you watch him play, his patience,” Martinez said.
“For the most part he swings at strikes and he gets the ball over the strike zone, and he doesn’t really miss. He’s comfortable hitting with two strikes, he really is, and with that combination he gives himself a good chance to hit.”
It’s a combination that also exists in the Nationals’ 19-year-old outfielder Juan Soto’s skill set, which has been on display throughout his minor league career, and in his first eight outings in the majors, over which he’s 8 for 25 (.320/.414/.560) with three doubles, a home run, four walks, and five Ks in 29 PAs after a 2 for 4 game against the O’s.
“I think he knows the strike zone so well,” Rendon told MASN’s Dan Kolko after the win on Monday, when he was asked for his thoughts on the early returns from Soto in the majors.
“He doesn’t swing at too many balls outside of the zone, so it’s pretty awesome to watch, and hope he continues to grow.”
Martinez, asked about Soto’s start in the majors, said he wasn’t really surprised with what the highly-regarded outfielder has been able to do since he was called up.
“I’m not surprised,” Martinez said of Soto’s strong start.
“What I am surprised about is how patient he really is and how he stays in the strike zone, he does. He doesn’t chase that much and that’s good to see for a young hitter.”
Add another patient bat to the mix... like say, Daniel Murphy’s, and the Nationals are going to be even that much tougher a lineup for opposing pitchers to face.
What lineup will Orioles’ righty Dylan Bundy have to go up against this afternoon?