Trea Turner started last night’s series opener with the Baltimore Orioles in Washington, D.C. 1 for 16 in a four-game stretch, and an 0 for 4 night at the plate made it 1 for 20, though the 27-year-old shortstop was 6 for 11 in the three games before his mini-slump-type stretch.
So, small sample sizes and all, yes.
Playing just two games in seven days probably doesn’t help a hitter’s timing and rhythm at the plate either, of course.
“I think it would be nice to play every day,” Turner said after the 11-0 loss to the Orioles in the nation’s capital.
“But we know the challenges,” the infielder added, “we know what’s going on and every day coming to the field is kind of a roller coaster, but we’ve got to put that behind us, we’ve got to play a little bit better and win ballgames when they’re in front of us.
“Every team is going through it so it’s not just us. We can’t make an excuse. We’ve got to move on and just play better.”
“He’s just — you know, hey, once he gets rolling one or two hits here and there he’ll be fine,” Turner’s manager, Davey Martinez, said when asked to assess what Turner was dealing with right now at the plate.
“The biggest thing with him, I always tell him, ‘Hey, accept your walks and get on base.’ The key for him is just get on base, accept your walks, get on base,
“As we all know, when he starts going, he starts tearing the ball up and we start going.”
Turner has walked three times in his first nine games and 38 plate appearances this season, and struck out just six times, which he said he thought was a good sign that he’s good even if he’s not seeing the results right now.
Turner finished the 2019 campaign with a .298/.353/.497 line, 37 doubles, five triples, 19 home runs, 43 walks, and 113 Ks in 122 games and 569 PAs, over which he was worth 3.5 fWAR, so he can put up big numbers when he’s right, and he said he feels comfortable at the plate now.
“I actually feel really good in the box,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever struck out at this low of a rate, feel like I’m putting the ball in play a lot. Feel like at times I’m having great at bats and just not hitting the ball on the screws and putting it in play, and I feel like I’m not swinging out of my shoes, swinging and missing and having terrible at bats, I just feel like I haven’t found some grass in the outfield.
“Keep doing what I’m doing. I think it has been a weird — I feel like I’m hitting behind in the count a lot and then sometimes when I’m ahead in the count I don’t feel like I get good pitches to hit, so I feel like they’ve done a good job pitching me this year so far and I just need to do a little bit better job getting the ball in the middle of the zone, and continue doing what I’m doing because I actually, I feel pretty good.”
The Nationals as a team are struggling to produce at the plate early this season, and their manager said he thinks it all starts with the top of the order in D.C.
“For me, it all starts at the top. We get [Adam] Eaton and Turner going, things will start happening,” he explained.
“Those guys are the spark plugs for our team, so I rely on those guys to get us going. When they get us going things start happening. So, I’m not overly concerned.
“We just got [Juan] Soto back which is nice. I like the way our lineup sets up lefty/righty.
“So we just got to start playing and we’re going to play a lot of games in a row, you know, we’ve got to stay healthy and get after it again tomorrow.”
Though 10 games are in the books in a 60-game season, Turner said it didn’t feel like they have more weight this season in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, and, he added, you can not let yourself think that way.
“I mean if we do it’s just going to snowball on us, so there’s not point to, and I think it’s more perspective, more teams are in the playoffs this year, so you have more room for error, and I guess more opportunities to make up ground. That being said, it is a shorter season.
“We do need to take advantage of every game, because we’re playing good ballclubs. They kicked our butts tonight, so we’ve got to be ready each and every day, and I think it we get back to that win-the-day-type deal we’ll be alright. We’ve got a lot of games to play and we got a lot of room to get in there, and like you saw last year, we just have to get in and we’ve got a good ballclub to make a run. So we need to get it going.”