Davey Martinez talked this past weekend about choosing between Howie Kendrick and Brian Dozier as he makes out the Washington Nationals’ lineup each day.
Kendrick, 35, has gotten off to a hot start since coming off the Injured List for a hamstring injury he suffered in Spring Training.
In his first eight games of the 2019 campaign, three of them starts, Kendrick has gone 8 for 17 (.471/.545/1.000) with three doubles, two home runs, four walks, and three Ks in 22 plate appearances.
Dozier, 31, is 7 for 46 (.152/.220/.217) with one home run, three walks, and 14 Ks in 50 PAs in what the Nationals and their nfielder hope is going to be a bounce-back campaign for the veteran, who struggled with a knee injury in a down year in 2018.
Martinez started Kendrick in back-to-back games against Pittsburgh’s Pirates this weekend, but he told reporters in the nation’s capital that he knew he’d need to get Dozier out there, so he could get him going at the plate.
“Howie is Howie,” Martinez explained. “He knows his role. But we’ve also got to get [Dozier] going. Once he starts going, which I’ve seen some big improvement lately, he’s going to be fine, and he’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
Dozier started again last night in the series opener with the San Francisco Giants, and he went 0 for 2 with a walk and two Ks in the 7-3 loss.
While there were some questionable called strikes in his at bats, Martinez said he did think that Dozier might be pressing at the plate as he tries to turn things around.
“I think he might be pressing a little bit,” the manager said, “but like I said, this is not out of the ordinary with him. He’s a notoriously slow starter in April, and we’ve just got to get him going.”
In his eight-year career, Dozier has a .221/.305/.364 line in March/April, and he’ll likely need at bats to get things going, but how long can the Nationals wait, especially when Kendrick is swinging the way he is out of the gate?
Which direction did Martinez go for tonight’s game? He started Kendrick, and he shuffled it up a bit. Look at that, best hitter in the two-hole. Word.: