PHILADELPHIA – Veteran right fielder Adam Eaton and manager Dave Martinez spoke for nearly one hour after Wednesday night’s game here in the The City of Brotherly Love.
Their discussion touched on a variety of topics, including family and the team’s lack of offense. The conversation went so long that Martinez gave a public apology to Kyle – the bus driver who was forced to wait on them – during a Zoom meeting with reporters Thursday.
And that discussion may have led to a change in the batting lineup as the Nationals try to snap a five-game losing streak. Eaton will bat in the leadoff spot on Thursday as the Nats face right-hander Zach Eflin, who is 2-1 with a 4.10 ERA.
“Get something going here. I know Trea (Turner) and Juan (Soto) have been carrying us for a while,” Martinez said Thursday. “Just trying to mix it up a little bit.”
“He has done it before,” Martinez added of Eaton. “Just tell him to be that little pesky hitter and try to get on base for the rest of our lineup.”
Does Eaton take tough at-bats hard?
“Very,” said Martinez, with a laugh. “I spent an hour with him after the game chatting about different stuff. He seems like he is at a good place. He takes every at-bat to heart. He wants to do well for his teammates. He said he was all for it. When he is good he can work 8-10 pitch at bats.”
After Eaton, Trea Turner – normally the leadoff hitter – will bat second today, followed by Juan Soto.
Eaton is hitting .224 while Turner is batting .358 and Soto checks in at .344 with a team-high 11 homers.
Eaton hit in the No. 5 hole for just the second time in his tenure with the Nationals in a 3-0 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.
It was the second game in a row Washington had been blanked after ace Aaron Nola got the start Tuesday for the Phillies. In the sixth inning Wednesday, Eaton took three straight strikes with two runners on to end the rally.
Eaton told reporters earlier this season it was hard to get up for games with a lack of fans.
“We are definitely in a different situation this year, but so is everybody else,” Martinez said Thursday.
“You have to find a way to stay motivated. It is different, but it is different for everybody. Every team is going through adversity.”
The only time the Nats were swept in four games in Philadelphia was in 2009. Washington was 14-5 last year against the Phillies but has lost the first five meetings this season.