Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez kept running Brian Dozier out there while the veteran infielder struggled at the plate over his first few months in a Nationals uniform, and the faith the second-year manager showed is paying off now that the 32-year-old, eight-year veteran is producing.
After Dozier went 3 for 7 with a double and two home runs in Wednesday’s sweep of the doubleheader with the Philadelphia Phillies, Martinez talked about why he stuck with his second baseman.
“You have to,” he explained. “Knowing his history, those kind of guys like that, you’ve got to keep running him out there. Now you know there’s days where you try to give him a day off here and there, but you know he’s going to come out of it. He’s a guy that’s hit 20+ home runs a lot of years in a row. I kept telling myself, he’s going — as long as he’s healthy — he’s going to do that, and now you see the results, he’s playing really well, playing good second base, and knocking in some big runs for us.”
Though he has just a .235/.318/.442 line on the season, Dozier is 16 for 49 (.327/.389/.735) with five doubles and five home runs in 15 games and 54 plate appearances in June, and he’s put up a .304/.356/.630 line since the middle of May, with multi-hit games in 10 of 28 over that stretch.
What’s been different at the plate?
“He’s staying on the ball,” Martinez said, “... and you know, what I like a lot is he’s really not trying to do a whole lot, he’s just staying up the middle of the field and just staying on the ball.”
“He’s a veteran guy,” the manager reiterated after Dozier’s second home run of the day provided all offense the Nationals needed in a 2-0 win in the nightcap.
“He’s done this for many years. We talked a lot about — that he’s a slow starter. Guys like that you’ve just go to stay with them, give them their at bats, and hope that they work themselves out of it, like he’s done.
“He’s been really good for us, and he’s driving in some big runs for us today included, so he’s having fun, he’s getting ready early when he’s hitting, he’s really getting ready early and seeing the ball well now.”
And, of course, since we wrote this last night when we had free time, Dozier is out of the lineup tonight for the third game with the Phillies in the nation’s capital.