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Will Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto lead the Washington Nationals back to October?

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Davey Martinez has talked often in the last few weeks about his 3-4 hitters being one of the best duos in the majors...

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Davey Martinez talked earlier this month, after Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto went 5 for 7 with two doubles, two home runs, a walk, four runs scored, and five RBIs between them in what ended up a 9-3 win over the Miami Marlins, about Washington’s 3-4 hitters being one of the best combos in baseball.

“Right now they’re one the best,” the Nationals’ second-year skipper said.

“It’s funny, because they’re punch for punch now in the home runs, and every time one of them hits a home run the other guy tries to match him, so it’s kind of fun, but [above] anything else, when you talk to them, they just want to win, that’s the bottom line, they want to win.”

“[Rendon] comes to the ballpark ready to play every day,” Martinez added.

“Doesn’t talk about it. We don’t mention anything. He knows what he wants to do. The biggest thing with him is he wants to come out and help us win, and that’s all he talks about, is winning.”

As for Soto?

“He’s really worked on everything, and he’s becoming that complete ballplayer,” Martinez told reporters. “At 20 years old, some of the things he’s doing [are] incredible.”

Rendon hit his 33rd home run of the season in his first trip to the plate on Thursday night in Minnesota, tying Soto, for a few innings at least, before the 20-year-old slugger hit his 34th out to left field later in the game, as the punch for punch battle continued.

In 11 games in the month of September going into last night’s series opener with the Atlanta Braves in the nation’s capital, Soto was 13 for 40 (.325/.426/.725) with four doubles, four home runs, 13 RBIs, nine runs scored, and six walks in 47 plate appearances, while Rendon was 13 for 39 over that stretch, (.333/.458/.615), with five doubles, two homers, eight RBIs, 11 runs scored, and nine walks.

Rendon took a 27-game on-base streak (which went back to August 13th) into the opener in D.C., over which he was 42 for 105 (.400/.484/.743) with a total of 12 doubles, eight homers, and 17 walks (vs 12 Ks) in 124 plate appearances.

Soto, whose 34th home run of the 2019 campaign was his 56th in the majors, tying him for the second-most by an MLB player before the age of 21, behind only Mel Ott (61) on the list, started the series with the Nationals’ NL East rivals ranked 4th in the NL in OBP (.405), and OPS (.983), with the 5th-most walks among National League hitters (90) and the seventh-highest slugging percentage (.579).

“What I know about those two is that they compete, and they’re very competitive,” Martinez said when he spoke with reporters before the first of three with their NL East rivals, “... and they want to help us win. And game on the line, you know, you couldn’t ask for any two guys to be up there in that moment, because they seem like they come through all the time. I’ve said this before, I try to look back at the combinations of 3-4 hitters, and these two guys are probably one of the best right now.

“I mean, they really are. They’re what kept this lineup going, they consistently drive in the runs we need, so they’ve been really good.”

Soto went 1 for 2 with two walks in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Braves last night.

Rendon’s on-base streak ended with an 0 for 4 night, and though he’s continued to get on base, he’s now just 4 for 20 in his last six games.