Over a red-hot, ten-game stretch heading into last night’s series opener in San Diego, 29-year-old Washington Nationals’ slugger Matt Adams was swinging it.
Adams was 14 for 34, .412/.500/.971, over the last ten, with one double, six home runs, five walks, and six Ks in 40 plate appearances.
He talked last week, during his 11 for 29, five-home run homestand, about what was working for him and how he wanted to keep it going.
“I’m not one to really dwell on stuff like this,” Adams said, “but it’s definitely feeling good, so I’m just going to try to keep running out there with confidence every day.”
Signed to a 1-year/$4M deal this winter to back up at first base and in left field, and provide power off the Nationals’ bench, Adams started the first of three with the Padres with injured first baseman Ryan Zimmerman out for the third straight game with a stiff side.
Matt Adams has 7 HRs this month.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 8, 2018
That's ... *checks calendar* ... very good. pic.twitter.com/n18G7tndZf
Adams took a 1-2 slider from Tyson Ross for a ride to right in his third trip to the plate in the sixth, connecting for a two-run home run, then stepped in against Padres’ left-hander Matt Strahm in the top of the seventh and hit a 1-0 curve to right field for a three-run blast that put the Nationals up 8-2 in what ended up an 8-5 win.
In 18 starts this season, Adams is now 22 for 67 (.328/.430/.821) with three doubles and 10 home runs.
Over his last seven games, the seven-year veteran is 10 for 25 (.400/.516/.1.240) with seven home runs, six walks, and three Ks.
So what do you say to a player on a streak like that? Do you just leave him alone?
“You just kind of let him do his thing,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals’ eighth win in the last ten last night.
“Whatever he’s thinking about, whatever he’s doing, whatever, you just kind of look the other way and keep patting him on the butt and say, ‘Nice going.’”
What’s Adams feeling after hitting seven in seven?
“I’m feeling the work that I’ve been doing before the games, and I’ve talked about that a lot the last couple games. Just sticking to my plan, getting a good pitch to hit and not missing it,” Adams told MASN’s Dan Kolko.
“He’s playing good defense,” Martinez added. “He’s really, really good right now, he really is, and he’s having fun. He loves it here, and he’s having fun, and it shows on the field.
“I’m proud of him. He’s going to keep it going, I know he is, because he’s doing all the right things.”
But will he be able to keep it going against lefties? After homering against a lefty last night, Adams is 2 for 9 with a homer in limited action against left-handed pitchers this season, but that might change.
Martinez said that as well as he’s playing, he might consider starting Adams again, with left-handers on the mound in each of the next two games.
“I’ll look at the numbers,” Martinez explained.
“Here again, he’s played a lot, and didn’t assume he was going to play that much, but he’s doing well, but I definitely don’t want to over-kill him and play him every day, but we’ll see. He’s swinging the bat well, and we’ll see how he matches up against these next two guys, and definitely play him against one of the two, or maybe both. But I’ll have to sit and look.
“I just want to enjoy tonight’s win. The boys played well, and we’ll worry about tomorrow here in a little bit.”
Adams is 1 for 4 career against tonight’s starter Clayton Richard, and he’s never faced lefty Joe Lucchesi, who starts on Wednesday. Adams is just a .207/.240/.362 hitter vs southpaws (vs .287/.338/.507 vs RHPs) in his career. He said it’s something he’s been concentrating on since he signed in D.C.
“I think going back to Spring Training, working with [hitting coach] Kevin [Long], opening up a little bit is helping me see the ball better out of the lefties’ hands, and picking up spin early on, so that chase slider that they throw, maybe borderline, I’m able to lay off and then get a better pitch to hit in that at bat. So a lot of credit goes to Kevin with that, just coming to me and wanting me to open up a little bit, and it’s been working.”
Everything has been working for Adams lately.