It’s Howie Kendrick’s world, we’re all just enjoying living in it. With a 3 for 4 night in the 8-1 win last night, in which he hit three doubles, Kendrick is now 11 for 35 (.314/.351/.514) with four doubles, a home run, five runs scored, and nine driven in in nine postseason games this October.
Kendrick, 36 ... [ed. note - “No he’s not 45, Anthony Rendon.”] ... and in his eighth October run, was asked after last night’s win if he remembered that last time he’d hit three doubles in one game.
“Was I in Little League or something?” Kendrick asked.
Not quite that long ago. It was in 2008, in the third of his 14 major league seasons.
“You know, I just play the game. I try not to think about what kind of hits I get,” Kendrick said.
“If I’m getting hits, that’s always a good thing. I think as a team, we always want to try to put good swings on the ball. It feels great, better than getting out. So I’ll take anything.”
His teammate, Anthony Rendon, was asked after last night’s game what makes Kendrick such a good hitter.
“He’s the greatest ever,” Rendon said. “I mean, you see the man. He’s, what, 36 years old, and he’s still doing it. He’s built like a frickin’ cinderblock. He’s huge. Man, he stays short. He’s strong. So if he puts that barrel to it and stays behind the ball, you see it. He does damage. So he knows how to hit. That’s what he does.”
Rendon, 29, was asked what he imagines he’ll be doing when he turns 36.
“Hopefully not playing baseball,” he said. “Probably sitting on the couch hanging out with my kids.”
Kendrick though, he added, “He’s probably going to play another 20 years.”
Kendrick has been to a Championship Series before, with the Dodgers in 2016, but he hasn’t made it to a World Series yet in his career, and his contributions last night and all October, have helped the Nationals get within one win of bringing a World Series to D.C. for the first time since 1933.
Did it ever feel like it just wasn’t going to be in the cards for him in his career?
“I guess some of the best things come from the unexpected moments,” Kendrick said.
“You don’t really realize at the time -- we were 19-31. People were counting us out already. I feel like from that point on, we took off. Our pitching was really good. Our defense was great and our bats got hot. I think when you look at it like that, I think anything can happen in this game, and that’s why we play every day because of the possibility of where we’re at right now.
“I feel like those games, playing and being down like that, they’re kind of like playoff games in a sense. You’re rolling. You’re playing games. I mean, every game counts, and that’s why we play 162.”
Kendrick’s manager, Davey Martinez, who made it to the postseason once in his own 16-year career in the majors, never advanced past the NLCS before he was done, at 36 years old, so he can appreciate where his second baseman is at this point.
“He wants it, and the rest of his teammates feed off of that, and they see it,” Martinez said last night.
“We’re all big fans of Howie. Every one of us in that clubhouse, and what he does on the field, off the field. I mean, he’s been that quiet leader for us all year long.”
He is 36 though, and they’ve handled him carefully all season, so would be in the lineup for a ninth straight game? Of course he would.