Trea Turner had hits in four straight games going into last night’s series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the previous ten games, Turner was just 5 for 40 (.125/.167/.225) with a double, a homer, two walks, and 12 Ks in 43 plate appearances.
He struck out looking his first time up in Miller Park, on a low 1-2 slider from Jhoulys Chacin that home plate umpire Nic Lentz called a strike.
Kevin Long, the Nationals’ hitting coach, got tossed arguing over the call.
The next time up, Turner squared to bunt on an 0-1 pitch from Chacin, who threw a fastball way inside on Washington’s shortstop. Turner fought it off/got it down, but hit it straight down.
It took one hop out towards the mound, and Turner spun around, and clearly frustrated, slammed his bat and helmet to the ground as the pitcher recovered the ball.
Chacin paused near the plate, confused, it seemed, by Turner’s reaction, and Lentz waited a moment then punched the Nationals’ infielder out as Turner walked up the third base line.
He stayed in the game, grounding out in the seventh, and striking out in the ninth, making a few solid defensive plays along the way.
Maybe not Trea Turner‘s best effort here. pic.twitter.com/TgqdkQjxpR— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) July 24, 2018
Asked about his reaction on the bunt after what ended up a 6-1 loss to the Brewers, Turner said he was off-balance after the pitch tailed way inside on him, telling reporters, as quoted by MLB.com’s Stephen Cohn, that it was more “self-defense” on his part than getting it down.
“Thought I was going to get hit by it, but ended up bunting it fair somehow,” Turner said.
“For me, by the time I got my feet underneath me, it felt like the pitcher was already standing right there. Probably should have run to first, but it’s a little bit of both.”
“I actually thought the ball hit him,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said. “I thought it hit him in the hand or something. I was trying to scream inside to see what they saw and they said he bunted the ball. So I was like, ‘Why would he walk up the field?’ So, in that moment, we’re trying to win a ballgame, so there’s a good chance he won’t play tomorrow.”
Martinez, who had to have a discussion with Bryce Harper about not running out a double play ground ball during the first-half ending series with the New York Mets in Citi Field, told reporters he hadn’t spoken to Turner about the play, but would.
“No, that’s something I’ll talk to him,” Martinez explained.
“Like I said, we’re in the midst of trying to win a ballgame, it’s close, you’ve just got to let him go play, but it will be a discussion.”
Coincidentally, Turner was honored by the Major League Baseball Players’ Alumni Association this morning with a Heart and Hustle award, as voted on by his fellow players, with MLBPAA’s CEO Dan Foster writing that, “Trea has an honorable work ethic and consistently gives his all on the field,” making him, “... a role model to the youth of Washington, D.C.”
One misstep doesn’t change that fact, the award is well-deserved, but it might get Turner a night off if Martinez sticks to what he said after the game.