Howie Kendrick was penciled into the lineup for the series opener in Arizona on Friday, but the veteran infielder was scratched with leg cramps ten minutes before the start of the first of three in Chase Field.
Matt Adams started at first base, against left-hander Alex Young, and drove in two of three runs the Washington Nationals scored in a 3-0 win.
“I had to go chase [Adams] down and tell him he was in the game,” Martinez said of the last-minute rewrite of the Nats’ lineup before the opener, “and he comes up with a big hit for us.
“It was awesome, he’s been hitting lefties good all year, that was a huge hit though.”
Adams started the night with a .289/.308/.658 line vs LHPs on the season, and ended it at .293/.310/.659, so even though Kendrick wasn’t available, things worked out.
Kendrick didn’t start in the second game of the series either, with Gerardo Parra at first base against left-hander Robbie Ray.
Martinez said he was being cautious with the Nats’ 36-year-old, 14-year veteran, who did go through his pregame routine.
“I want to wait and see how he feels after he does everything today,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman on Saturday night.
“Hopefully, he’ll be available to pinch-hit today. That would be great if he can. But we’ll just have to monitor him. He’s had a history with hamstring issues, so we have to make sure he’s good.”
Kendrick has a .316/.367/.526 line, 16 doubles, and 12 home runs in 88 games and 275 plate appearances this season, over which he’s been worth 1.6 fWAR.
He’s crushed left-handed pitching (.345/.380/.552) and been pretty good against righties (.300/.361/.513). Will Kendrick miss significant time? If he does it will be a blow to the Nats, who are already without Ryan Zimmerman at first base (IL stint, plantar fasciitis), though Zim did start running the bases last night.
Adams is starting at first this afternoon, in the series finale with the D-backs, against right-hander Taylor Clarke.