Kurt Suzuki went 1 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored in his first start since September 7th last night, but more importantly, the veteran backstop, who did geta few at bats as a pinch hitter before getting back behind the plate following an elbow injury, told manager Davey Martinez that he was good to go the full nine innings.
“He didn’t want to come out of the game,” Martinez said, “... because I only wanted him to go six or seven [innings]. He was very adamant about staying in the game, and he said, ‘I felt really good,’ so that was awesome.”
Martinez also got Matt Adams in the lineup (2 for 4, run scored), and gave Gerardo Parra a start in center (3 for 3, 2B, HR, 4 RBIs), getting Victor Robles a rare night off.
With just two games left in the regular season, and the Wild Card game pending on Tuesday night, the second-year skipper said it’s important to make sure everyone is sharp as they try to prepare for the win-or-go-home matchup.
“Perfect example,” Martinez said, “[Brian] Dozier coming up, just to let him see pitches, and I actually liked the matchup [against right-hander Dan Otero].
“Guy threw sinkers down for Dozier, which I liked, and came up with a big at bat.”
Dozier doubled off the Cleveland Indians’ reliever, connecting on his 20th two-base hit of the season.
Howie Kendrick, who started just his second game of the month at second base, and went 1 for 4 on the night (leaving him with a .344 AVG on the season), went out there to get reps in case he’s needed out there at some point.
“It could happen,” Martinez said, “so I want to make sure he gets his reps at second as well.”
Parra’s big night might have been the most important development though, after he’s had a rough time of it at the plate (2 for 26 in 14 games, 4 starts) in September before last night.
“I want to get him going because he’s going to have a big at bat in this postseason, I know he will,” Martinez said.
“So we got to get all these guys going, him, [Ryan Zimmerman], Matt [Adams], all these guys need to get their at bats here in the next three days and we’ve got to get them going.”
How did he line the Nationals up for the second of three with the Indians in D.C.?
UPDATE: The Nationals released an updated lineup with Parra in place of Victor Robles.