MASN’s Alex Chappell tried her best. Getting Anthony Rendon to talk about himself though, even after he’d hit a grand slam that was the difference in the Washington Nationals’ 6-3 win over the Atlanta Braves, is never easy.
Rendon hit a 2-0 fastball from reliever Chad Sobotka out to left after stepping up with the bases loaded in a 2-2 game in the sixth, connecting for his 23rd home run of the season and the third grand slam of his career.
So was he sitting on the fastball, or what was his approach on that 2-0 pitch?
“Just try to look for a ball over the plate and put the barrel on it and see if I can do some damage,” Rendon told the MASN reporter.
And the curtain call and reaction from fans in Nationals Park? And his dugout dance?
“I had to go back to my high school days, I did the ‘Dougie’ for a little bit, some of these people don’t know about it,” Rendon said, gesturing towards the crowd. “I’m out...”
"I had to go back to my high school days. I did the dougie for a little bit." pic.twitter.com/BaaAiv4IAq— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) July 30, 2019
That was it for Rendon’s on-field interview after the game. His manager was much more comfortable singing Rendon’s praises.
What did Davey Martinez think when he saw Rendon make contact with the pitch that went out?
“I was excited. It was a wild moment. He got a 2-0 fastball, and man he drove it. I want to see what the exit velo is, I still haven’t seen it, but he hit it pretty good.”
It came in at 94.8 and went out at 104+.
“Was it 104?” Martinez repeated. “Yeah. He hit it really good.”
With his fast hands, and a fastball inside, it was pretty much in Rendon’s wheelhouse.
“His hands are so quick,” Martinez said. “Like I said, he puts himself in a position to hit every pitch, and when he’s like that 2-0, you know, you have bases loaded, you don’t want to walk him, and he got a pitch to hit and he hit it far, loud, and it was clutch.”
Heading into the series opener with the Braves, Rendon was rolling, with hits in 16 of his last 18, over which he was 25 for 68 (.368/.463/.588) with nine doubles, two home runs, 16 RBIs, 11 walks, and 10 runs scored.
His 2 for 5 night in the first of three with Atlanta in D.C. left Rendon with a .318/.404/.616 line on the season. He made an error which led to a run, but made up for it with the slam, and it was actually a pretty impressive play on the error, but a high throw to first base allowed one run to score, getting the Braves on the board...
Maybe he should have pocketed it, but whatever.
What, his manager was asked, has he meant to the Nationals this season at the plate and at third base?
“It’s really not just this season, it’s just every year,” Martinez said, “... and even when I was on the other side just watching him play, he just — you don’t see a whole lot of emotion from him, he just makes everything look rather easy. I mean, that play that he made at third base, even though he threw the ball high, that was unbelievable, I mean, I don’t think too many people make that play. That ball — from where he started to the line, it was down the line. As soon as he hit it I said, ‘Oh no, double,’ and he came up firing the ball, I couldn’t believe it.”