Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez moved things around in his lineup last night, with Juan Soto batting second, Bryce Harper in the cleanup spot, and Trea Turner hitting in the sixth spot for the series opener with the Baltimore Orioles.
Whether it was the movement, the opposing pitching, or just coincidence, the results were positive.
Soto went 1 for 3 with two walks, Harper went 1 for 4 with a walk, and Turner, who came into the game 12 for 60 (.200/.262./267) with a double, a homer, four walks, and 12 Ks in 14 June games, went 4 for 4 with a homer, a double, and two singles as the Nationals rallied from a 5-1 deficit for a 9-7 win over the O’s.
“I said it yesterday, this team is starting to become relentless,” Martinez told reporters after the win. “When you start doing that you put up runs late, and that’s a good sign.
“They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, they were able to have a couple big innings there and score some runs.”
Martinez said he thought the move was particularly positive for Turner, and was designed to, “... get him kind of relaxed a little bit, and he did that.”
“It’s the perfect spot for him I think,” Martinez said.
“He just gets to go out there — and I said in Spring Training, he’s a pure hitter. I don’t want him thinking about taking pitches, getting on base, just go hit.
“When he goes up there and thinks about just hitting he usually swings at better pitches, and he’ll draw his walks, but he does what he does tonight.”
Another good sign for the offense overall, is that they weren’t all big blasts, but some hits on which players made contact and found holes.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to put the ball in play,” Martinez said. “For me it’s just about working counts and when you get to two strikes, just move the ball, good things happen when you move the ball.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies this morning he liked what he saw from Martinez and the Nationals when he was asked about the thinking with moving things around.
“That’s Davey being Davey,” he said. “He’s not one to stand on convention, and he wanted to give guys a break, a different look, give them some different partners around them, and he wanted to split up some lefties and righties and drop Trea down to a more run-producing part of the lineup instead of a run-scoring part of the lineup. I think Davey, he mixes and matches and tries to do some new things to get guys jumpstarted.”
It worked last night. Will it work again tonight in the second of three with the Orioles in D.C.?