Juan Soto hit his bases-loaded, game-tying sac fly to center field in Nationals Park to the warning track, but he didn’t get all of the 92 MPH fastball Boston Red Sox’ lefty Austin Davis threw him. Did he think he’d hit it out on contact? Or what was he thinking as he watched it fly out to center?
“I just thought, “He’s lucky,” Soto said. Davis got away with one.
“I mean, I hit it pretty good,” Soto added. “Just a little bit too high and maybe a little bit up on my barrel. But yeah, I was praying for it to keep going, but it didn’t.”
Asked what he was thinking going into the at-bat against the Sox’ southpaw, Soto said he really wasn’t thinking of anything, until Davis apparently objected to the 22-year-old right fielder asking for time as the at-bat got started, twice, and then again after he spit on the first-pitch slider out of the zone the reliever threw him.
“I really don’t think anything, I wasn’t thinking anything, I just tried to make good contact, but he started talking trash to me,” Soto said, “and my mindset just changed to, ‘Kick his ass.’ That’s what I’m going for.”
“He just got me mad,” Soto said. “I don’t like when he talks trash to me.”
Soto went 0 for 3 with two Ks in what ended up a 5-3 loss, continuing a tough stretch at the plate in recent days.
Going into the game, he was just 3 for 21 in the previous seven games, with all three of his hits singles, and 13 Ks in 34 plate appearances.
His goal going into game 162 of 162? Hit a few balls well and end the season on a good note.
“I haven’t been squaring up the ball in the last couple days, so just try to square up and go home with that feeling of hitting the ball well, and just get me locked in for the offseason and the next season,” Soto explained.
He and the rest of the Nationals would also like to go out with a win, obviously.
“We all want to win at the end of the day,” Soto said.
“It’s just the best feeling, and more in the last game of the season, just get a win, and go home like a winner, it would be the greatest.
“But definitely just try to get a couple hits, get that feeling back.”
Will Soto get that feeling back? Will the Nationals end a disappointing season with a win?