Daniel Murphy lined a bases-loaded single to center in the first. Bryce Harper hit a three-run home run in the fifth. Juan Soto added a solo shot in the sixth. Every once in a while you get a glimpse of what could be for the 2018 Nationals’ offense, but too often Washington’s bats have failed to come through with the big hit, or a string of hits, that would allow the team to put together a big inning or a winning streak, the likes of which might help the back-to-back defending NL East champions gain some ground on the teams ahead of them in the NL East standings right now.
Davey Martinez said he liked what he saw from the Nats in the series finale in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon though, when they went 2 for 4 with runners in scoring position and scored seven runs in spite of the fact that they only connected for four hits total in the 7-3 win over the Brewers.
“The biggest thing is we’re scoring first, which is nice,” Martinez said. “We’re scoring early, so continue to swing the bats, take our walks, the biggest key is taking our walks, I think — for our lineup, because we’ve got guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark, and just work good at bats.”
Adam Eaton and Juan Soto walked (around a hit-by-pitch on Matt Adams) to load the bases in the top of the first on Wednesday, and Eaton and Matt Wieters walked in front of Harper’s homer in the fifth as the Nationals made Brewers’ righty Freddy Peralta pay for all of the free passes.
Harper’s home run was his 25th on the season and fourth in the last 11 games, over which he is just 8 for 40 with half of his hits leaving the yard.
In 19 games in July, the 25-year-old outfielder is 13 for 65 (.200/.350/.446) with a double and five home runs, 15 walks, and 28 Ks in 80 PAs.
“He’s actually been pretty good,” Martinez told reporters in Miller Park. “He’s working some good at bats. To see him hit that ball, especially on the line, was awesome, so I hope he continues to swing the bat like that, and like I said, for him it’s just getting balls in the strike zone and swinging at strikes.”
Will Harper and the Nationals make it back-to-back wins tonight, for the first time since they took three straight from the Marlins back on July 5-7?
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR THE SERIES OPENER WITH THE MARLINS:
UPDATED NOTE: That’s Mark (Not Matt) Reynolds at third base. Anthony Rendon went on the Paternity List today, and the third baseman is apparently being called up to play third with Rendon out though that move isn’t officially official yet.
NOTE 2: We updated the lineup above to reflect the fact that Daniel Murphy is no longer in the lineup with Wilmer Difo taking over at second, batting eighth.