Victor Robles went 0 for 2 with two Ks in his 2020 debut, which came shortly after he was cleared to return from a two-week quarantine, but in the second game of the season, a 9-2 win over the New York Yankees last night, the 23-year-old outfielder went 3 for 4 with a two-run double in the second, a two-run home run in the fourth, and a leadoff single in the sixth, before he K’d swinging in his final trip to the plate, falling a triple short of the cycle.
Robles missed two of three weeks in Spring Training 2.0, but tried to stay sharp, and his skipper liked what he saw from his young center fielder in last night’s game.
“Tremendous,” manager Davey Martinez said after Washington’s first win of the season.
“He uplifted us early. It was a great night for him. He can do those kind of things, he really can. The biggest thing I say when I talk to him all the time, is just to be on time when he’s hitting. If he does that, he hits the ball hard.”
The home run came on a 93 MPH fastball low and in from reliever Michael King that Robles turned around and hit out to left field, off the foul pole to put the Nationals up 6-2.
“He definitely likes the ball down. He hits the ball well,” Martinez said. “Like I said before, I think the key for him is to really get his foot down and be on time.
“When he does that, and lays off the breaking balls down and away, he puts good at bats up there.
“As a young hitter, he knows what ball he can drive and he can hit, and we tell him, ‘When you’re in the count, and you’re ahead of the count, you’ve got to look for those balls, those are pitches you can drive.’
“He did a great job tonight, got a couple balls in there, and he also did a great job in taking pitches today, which was really, really good to see.”
“I just know I have quick hands and it’s a reaction,” Robles said of his ability to get to the low pitches inside.
“I go up there looking for a good pitch to make solid contact, and I know my hands are quick enough that they’ll get there.
“That’s all that is. I just go up there with a positive attitude and react to the pitch and I’ve been able to react on those inside pitches very well.”
Robles told reporters he never worried the time he missed at the start of Spring Training 2.0 would hurt his preparation for his fourth big league season.
“The team did a great job of maintaining me [and keeping me] prepared in any way they could while I was gone,” Robles said, “and most of all mentally I’ve always been ready to go.
“I have not thought, ‘Oh, I missed two weeks.’ I’ve thought the whole time that I’m ready and any way I can help the team out I will, and so I’ve been very focused and mentally prepared for the start of the season.”
Robles apparently feels good, because he is back in there today for the finale of the three-game set with the Yankees.