Juan Soto led the offensive charge last night, going 3 for 4 with two home runs, one that went 466 feet to right in Citi Field, landing on the concourse above the Pepsi Porch area, and the other an opposite field, 403-foot blast that cleared the fence in left.
Soto’s tape-measure shot and opposite field blast came in a losing effort, however, which does, he said after the game, obviously make them hard to enjoy.
“It’s really tough, you know,” Soto said, but, “... at the end of the day the goal is to win the game. If you don’t win the game it just feels bad.
“I think a couple guys we’ve been doing really good, we’ve been trying really good, it’s just one of those days. We got to take it forget about it, and go for the next day.”
Davey Martinez talked at length in his own post game Zoom call about just how impressive the 21-year-old slugger is, and how hard he works.
“He’s very mature and he understands the game,” Martinez said. “He really understands the game and he has a game plan every time he steps up there. He watches, he pays attention.
“He watches pitchers, what their sequences are, so he’s always going up there having a game plan.”
Soto’s three-hit game left him 11 for 26 (.423/.444/1.000) on the season, with three doubles and four home runs, a walk, and three Ks in seven games since he returned from a second quarantine period that delayed the start of his 2020 campaign.
It’s fair to say he’s locked in right now. Martinez said it.
“When he’s swinging the bat like he is now, you very rarely see him swinging at balls outside the strike zone,” his manager said.
“The ball is always in the vicinity of the strike zone. For a young hitter, that’s something that when we got him a couple years ago, that we liked about him.
“He understood the strike zone, that he’s not afraid to take his walks. When you can do that and you can put the ball in play like he does, he’s going to hit the ball hard consistently.”
Soto, who came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, then tested positive for the coronavirus himself before Opening Day, worked as hard as he could at home, while quarantined, and returned determined to get going quickly and carefully.
“With the time off and everything, when I come back I just got to really make sure I’m doing everything perfect,” Soto said. “Nobody is perfect, but I try to go to the field and try to do my routine in the cage, I try to make it as clean as I can, try to make it as perfect as I can and to maybe come back quicker it made body come back and feel ready more quickly.
“That’s the thing I’ve been doing, and just try to make my routine perfect.”
Martinez said that Soto at least has the perfect mindset when he gets to the field every day.
“I said this before, I asked him, ‘What’s your game plan today, and he tells me all the time, ‘Four line drives up the middle,’ and he really wants to do that.”
Sometimes they go 466 feet to right field, though, or 463 to center, or 403 ft to left. What will Soto do today?
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR THE FINALE WITH THE METS IN CITI FIELD:
Here's the #Nationals' lineup for the series finale with the #Mets (weather permitting) & (via https://t.co/u10gxBYPLq): pic.twitter.com/R3JIgzTLK0— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 13, 2020