Howie Kendrick played in five straight games, starting four in a row, before the Washington Nationals’ finale with the San Diego Padres on Sunday, so Davey Martinez gave the 35-year-old, 14-year veteran a day off, in spite of the fact that Kendrick was on a bit of a (season-long-really) roll.
Kendrick was 4 for 11 in the first three games of the series with the Padres, and 16 for 37 (.432/.450/.757) with three doubles and three home runs in his previous eleven games, eight of which he started.
“You want to put him out there every day, but I’ve got to make sure he’s rested and that he stays healthy throughout the whole year,” Martinez explained last month, when asked how he was handling Kendrick’s playing time.
While he didn’t start Kendrick on Sunday, as he’s said previously, knowing he has that bat on the bench for late-game opportunities is big too.
“The days he doesn’t feel right, to keep him fresh, we are able to put him in as a pinch hitter, it’s awesome,” Martinez said.
Kendrick was 5 for 15 with a double and a home run as a pinch hitter this season before he was called upon with one out in a 1-1 game in the eighth inning on Sunday.
Kendrick was 6 for 16 with a double and two homers after he hit the first of four consecutive home runs the Nationals launched off Padres’ reliever Craig Stammen.
“He comes off the bench and puts us ahead,” Martinez said after the 5-2 win, “... and in that moment everyone was obviously excited, so yeah, you feed off of those kind of things. He’s been doing it all year. Wanted to give him a day off today and just use him as a pinch hitter, and you see what he can do when his legs are fresh.”
On the season, Kendrick now has a .327/.364/.596 line, nine doubles, and 11 home runs in 54 games (32 starts) and 173 plate appearances overall.
What shouldn't be lost in the history of four consecutive homers is that Howie Kendrick rocked a pinch-hit HR in a tie game.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) June 10, 2019
Anthony Rendon noticed: “Man, he means the world. He should definitely be an All-Star, that’s for sure. Nobody’s talking about him."
Kendrick is back in the starting lineup today for the series opener with the White Sox in Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, where the Nationals can use the designated hitter...