Signed to a 1-year/$4M free agent deal this winter, Matt Adams put up a .288/.362/.565 line with eight doubles and 15 home runs in 68 games and 213 plate appearances before the All-Star Break. His manager, Davey Martinez, talked during the series with the New York Mets in Citi Field, about the contributions the left-handed slugger made in the so-called first half of the 2018 campaign, playing more than he was expected to with Ryan Zimmerman out with an oblique injury.
Adams missed time with a fractured finger as well, but picked up where he left off when he returned from the DL, going 13 for 38 (.342 AVG) with a double, two home runs, four walks, and eight runs scored in 11 games after returning from the Disabled List on July 5th heading into last night’s game.
“He’s been outstanding,” Martinez said. “I love Matty. He’s a competitor. And he’s had such a great first half. He’s gotten some big hits for us, some big RBIs, big home runs. Nobody talks about his defense at first base, but he’s improved a lot. He’s playing really well.”
What stood out?
“His consistency,” Martinez told reporters before the first-half finale. “You put him out there ... [and] he’s hitting home runs, he’s driving in the big runs for us, but what I really like is he’s gotten really, really good at first base, his defense has been really good, and I know he’s worked with [first base coach Tim Bogar] every day on it, so that’s good to see.
“I told him, I talked to him the other day, and said, ‘Hey, you know, if you didn’t get hurt you had a really legitimate chance to be on the All-Star team, you really did,’ the numbers were there for him, but I told him, ‘I’m proud of you, keep going, you’re going to have a bigger second half.’”
Adams went 2 for 4 in the 96th game of the season for the Nationals, after homering in each of the previous two in New York.
Even with Zimmerman back off the DL last night, Martinez went with Adams against right-hander Anibal Sanchez, pointing to the left-handed hitting first baseman’s .294/.372/.594 line and 14 homers against right-handers this season in discussing the decision.
“I mean Matt Adams, he’s pretty much killing right-handers right now,’ Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“He deserves to play. I talked to Zim and he’s going to come off the bench today. Lefty in the game, we’ll plop him in somehow. We got a lefty tomorrow, so he’ll play and we’ll go from there. He gets it. We talked and he said, ‘However we can help the team win.’ He’s all in. When he gets hot, of course, he can carry us. As soon as he starts to get going and gets his feet on the ground, of course, he’ll probably play a lot more.”
Adams homered again in last night’s game, taking Sanchez deep to right on a 2-2 cutter he lined into the Nats’ bullpen for his 16th home run of 2018, tying the game up momentarily in what ended up an 8-5 loss to the Braves.
His 1 for 4 night left him with a .287/.359/.574 line on the season, eight doubles, the 16 home runs, 20 walks, and 45 Ks in 217 PAs.
Adams said he’s ready to do whatever he’s asked to going forward.
“Taking it day by day,” Adams told reporters. “I know we’ve got guys coming back, but I show up to the field ready to play every day so whenever my name is called I’m going to be ready.”