Wednesday’s game, which the Washington Nationals ended up winning, 17-7, was a 1-1 game after four and half, but Cincinnati Reds’ starter Trevor Bauer gave up seven hits, two of them home runs, and a walk, and was eventually charged with eight of the 10 runs that scored for the home team in the fifth inning, before he was done for the day in the nation’s capital.
Davey Martinez, who said the key to the rally against Bauer was simply, “getting the balls up a little bit in the strike zone,” and hitting them, was asked after the Nationals’ fourth straight win, if there was any pattern or common thread in the way his club’s been able to figure out opposing pitchers the second or third time around the order.
“You go one time through the order the first time seeing the guy,” he explained, “... and then you kind of get the gist of what he’s trying to do, how his pitches work, and what he wants to do with two strikes, and we did really well with that tonight. We just, like I said, we got balls over the plate. [Bauer’s] breaking ball is really good, so a lot of times we tried to get it up or we took them when they were down, and we were able to get in a fastball count.”
And when the dam breaks, and you string together hits and pile up runs, what does that feel like in the dugout?
“It’s a good feeling,” Martinez said. “You don’t often score 10 runs in an inning, but it was good. Then all of a sudden the game can’t go fast enough after that, you just hope that nobody gets hurt, and hope that the game speeds up.”
Scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth didn’t necessarily help speed things up, but they were up 17-4 at that point, and a sweep of the Reds was all-but assured for the Nationals.
“We’re playing really well, the boys are upbeat, they’re having fun, so we’ve got to keep it going,” Martinez said after getting 10 games over .500 on the season, after they were 12 games behind before the started to turn things around in late May.
The second-year skipper, of course, is not taking anything for granted, or looking beyond tonight’s series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers.
“We’re playing well,” Martinez told reporters, ‘... and the message is every day, ‘Let’s go 1-0,’ and we stick to that message. No one remembers what we did in May, just keep playing the way we’re playing now and keep on rolling.”