Davey Martinez predicted he might lose some sleep trying to find a way to get his veteran slugger Mark Reynolds’ bat in the lineup on Sunday after the Nats’ slugger’s 5 for 5 with 10 RBIs in the Washington Nationals’ blowout win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday night.
“I thought I was going to sleep nice,” Martinez said after Washington’s 18-4 win, “but I have to think about where am I going to put him tomorrow, and I’ve seen him like this, when he gets hot like this he can stay hot for a while, so we’ll have to figure something out to see if we can get him in there tomorrow, but great day, great night, great win for the Nats.”
“I’m going to sleep just fine,” Reynolds joked after he homered twice in the game to extend a personal hit streak to six straight at bats, over which he had three homers total, including a walk-off winner on Friday night.
“That’s his problem. I’ll be ready to go either way, ready to come in late or play from inning one.”
Martinez eventually decided to plug Reynolds in at third base, though he’d only played four innings there this season, and before that hadn’t played there at all since he played 22 games there all the way back in 2015.
“Yeah, had to sleep on that one,” Martinez said before the series finale with the Fish, “... but Anthony [Rendon] could use a day off, and I told him, I said, ‘Half a day,’ hopefully we don’t need him, but he’ll be available.”
His thoughts on Reynolds defensively at third?
“He’s really good,” the first-year skipper said. “He catches the balls, you saw the plays he made in Tampa, so why not? He’s red hot right now, he’s swinging the bat, and like I said Anthony could use a day, so perfect timing.”
Reynolds fielded a grounder in the shift in the top of the first inning on Sunday afternoon, and short-hopped first with a rushed throw the Matt Adams couldn’t handle, E:5, but that didn’t hurt starter Tanner Roark, who worked his way out of trouble for a scoreless frame.
Reynolds walked in his first plate appearance, and extended his hitting streak to eight at bats in a row with a double the second time up in the third, but a groundout in the fourth left the bases loaded and ended his streak.
After striking out in his third trip to the plate in the seventh, Reynolds added a new line to his resume: major league pitcher.
With the bullpen “strapped” as the Nationals’ manager put it, he called upon Reynolds to get the final out of the Marlins’ ninth, and he did it, with three pitches (he called ‘lobs’).
To cap off the weekend, Reynolds singled with two out in the ninth, though he was stranded.
He ended the four-game, long-weekend series with the Marlins 8 for 10 with two doubles and three home runs as the Nationals took 3 of 4 from the Fish..
With some roster decisions coming, it was a nice example of what the 34-year-old can bring at this point in his career, whether it’s for the Nationals or another team out there watching.
“It was big,” Reynolds said when asked about the series as a whole for his team.
“Coming off the stretch we had before the series we needed to win some games, and 3 out of 4 is huge. Sweeping somebody is really, really hard to do and I think it was a good confidence boost for the team. Some guys got some rest today, and playing well, heading to Pittsburgh.”
Martinez said having Reynolds pitch was something they’d discussed before, and in a time of need, he turned to him because he knew Reynolds would embrace the challenge.
“He knew, I said if we ever get strapped like that, he’ll probably pitch,” the manger explained.
“And he’ll do whatever. He’s that guy. And he went out there and got a nice out.”
“I told [Davey] I’ve been around a long time,” Reynolds said, “... and that’s the only thing I haven’t done yet is pitch, and then I was standing at third and [bench coach] Chip [Hale] kind of looked at me and goes, ‘Hey, you ready?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m ready let’s do it. I didn’t cover first though, forgot my PFPs.”
He also forgot a lot of things he’d hoped to do when and if he got the chance.
“We throw like knuckleballs and stuff every day trying to get ready for the eventual event, but I don’t know. I always said I was going to do all this stuff when I got out there, and I was so nervous and the home plate looked a mile away, and I was trying not to hit anybody, but it was a little nerve-wracking.”
“I think I came set one time and the batter wasn’t even in the box yet,” Reynolds’ joked.
“I was going a mile a minute, I definitely didn’t slow the game down at all for me right there, but I always wanted to do it, and it was cool experience.”