Trailing 1-0 in the eighth inning last night, the Washington Nationals got a leadoff double off the bat of Yadiel Hernández, and a bunt for a hit from Victor Robles to give them a shot with Trea Turner, Juan Soto, and Ryan Zimmerman due up and runners on first and third.
Robles got thrown out trying to steal second with Turner up, however, and after Turner K’d, the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to walk Juan Soto intentionally to get Ryan Zimmerman, whose grounder up the middle allowed LA to get a force at second, ending the threat, and the home team went on to a 1-0 win.
Manager Davey Martinez and Robles both discussed the decision-making on the stolen base attempt, and why it was ill-advised, and the skipper was asked if it was a case of a player on the currently depleted roster pressing to try to make something happen.
While they’re short of power bats like Josh Bell’s and Kyle Schwarber’s, is the club forcing things to try to score runs?
“We try. We’re going to try different things, but we’ve got to do it smartly. I mean, we know which guys we can run on, which guys we can’t, it’s been talked about,” Martinez said.
“But we got to be a little more aggressive. We’re missing two big boys in the middle of our lineup, so we want to make things happen.
“We out-hit them today, they got one big home run, so you know, what I can say about our guys is they’re playing their hearts out right now. They really are.”
And the intentional walk to Soto? Is there going to be a lot of that while the team’s without the lineup protection they brought in this winter to hit behind the 2020 NL batting champ?
“Yeah, it’s part of it. I’ve seen them — great example — when we were with the Cubs, how many times did we walk [Bryce] Harper?” the former bench coach with the Cubbies asked rhetorically. “I played with Barry Bonds and they walked him almost every time he came to the plate, so it’s going to happen, and it’s happening to Juan, he’s got to accept it, and like I said, when does get a chance to swing the bat, he’s been good. He got a couple hits today. Quietly, I know it’s early, but he’s up over .300 already [.364], so he’s going to get his hits, he’s going to get his opportunities, and Zim is going to be able to — right now, pick him up. He’s no slouch hitting behind him either, so I was okay with Zim coming up and trying to drive in that run. He hit it hard, just right at somebody.”
Will things be different when Bell and Schwarber are back with the team? We’ll see. For now, here’s the Nationals’ lineup for the second of three in Chavez Ravine...