Davey Martinez has filled out nearly-identical lineup cards in the first two exhibition games of Spring Training 2.0, so should we read anything into the way he’s lined things up in the final tune-ups before the games start counting later this week?
“I kind of like that lineup,” Martinez told reporters after Monday’s game against Baltimore’s Orioles in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which had Trea Turner and Adam Eaton up top of the lineup, Starlin Castro batting third, with Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick, and Eric Thames in the middle, and Asdrúbal Cabrera (at third and) batting seventh, in front of their catchers (Kurt Suzuki on Saturday and Yan Gomes last night), and Victor Robles batting ninth.
“Then again,” the manager hedged, “... we face Gerrit Cole the first day, so I like where we’re at, I like what we’re doing, but you never know, I might switch if up just for the first day.
“We’ll have to look at all the numbers. I want to keep looking at different things with Gerrit pitching.
“We’ll see what happens come Thursday, but I like that. I like Starlin hitting in front of Soto, I know he’s going to get on base, and then you’ve got Howie hitting behind him and Thames behind him, so for me, that’s a pretty good set-up.”
Victor Robles is a question mark as well, having missed two-plus weeks of the three-week ramp-up to Opening Day, but he’s played in each of the team’s last two exhibition games, and his manager said he’s happy with what he’s seen from the 23-year-old center fielder over the past few days since he was cleared to join the team and again last night.
“He hit the ball hard,” Martinez said after Robles went 0 for 2 with a walk (in an at bat that he began down 0-2).
“I liked the way he worked some at bats,” the skipper added. “I talked to him, he said he felt okay.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. We’ll try to run him out there again, if he can, and we’ll see. He didn’t have to run after many balls in the outfield, but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. If he feels okay, we’ll run him back out there, let him play hopefully maybe, 5-6 innings, get him three at bats.”
The good thing about these exhibitions, Martinez said, is that the teams so far seem okay with mixing things up and doing what they need to do to get players ready, so they’ve had extra ABs, and extra outs in a few cases on Saturday so the pitchers can get their work in.
“What I like about these games — I talked to [O’s manager Brandon] Hyde today, again, and told him I got a couple guys that probably need an extra at bats, but I didn’t want [them] to play the field, and they were okay with it. That’s good.
“We’re getting these guys as many at bats as possible because of the late start, and I think [Robles] looks good.”
Robles is in there again tonight, and Martinez has mixed it up some: