Davey Martinez’s expected everyday lineup coming out of Spring Training finally took the field last night in the first of three with the St. Louis Cardinals in Busch Stadium and put a total of 12 hits and five runs on the board in a 5-2 victory which snapped the streak of five straight losses the Washington Nationals brought to Missouri this week.
Josh Bell, Josh Harrison, and Kyle Schwarber were all reinstated from the COVID-IL before the series opener against the Cards, and the three of them were a combined 4 for 12 with two runs scored and two walks (both by Bell) in their respective 2021 debuts.
It took them a couple ABs to get their timing down, but when they did the new additions to the lineup made immediate contributions to the second win of the season for the Nats.
“We talked about that with these guys. They just got to get in games and get their at bats and you saw it,” Martinez said. “The first two at bats a little behind on some fastballs and a little ahead on some breaking balls, and then you could see that they made adjustments and the biggest thing for me with those guys is the ability to take their walks.
“You saw Josh Bell do that tonight, Schwarber getting some balls that he could handle and hit, but just working those walks, and we talked a lot about that, just take your walks, and just see pitches and you’ll get in that groove and they did that tonight.”
The presence of the three changes the complexion of the roster as well, and as Martinez said, opens up a number of possibilities that weren’t available to the manager in the first games of the season.
“We’re talking about guys in the middle our lineup that not only can they hit home runs, but they drive in runs, so it’s big,” the fourth-year skipper explained.
“And then you have the guys on the bench like the [Andrew] Stevensons, where you can put them in against right-handed pitching in a situation,” which Martinez did in the top of the seventh, where Stevenson homered off righty Giovanny Gallegos.
“You got [Ryan Zimmerman] who we had up with bases loaded that just missed a ball, but what happens is it extends our lineup, it extends our bench and you can tell when things start clicking they start feeding off of one another. One guys gets on, the next guys wants to get on, the next guy wants to drive him in, and it keeps going on and on and on.”
Just having their expected everyday regulars back in the mix provided a morale boost the skipper said was noticeable.
“We left Spring Training, we were in a good place when we left, we felt good, things were starting to peak for us at the end there, and then unfortunately things happened, and now we’re back together. We had a little bit of a fieriness in us and a little bit of momentum before the game.”
It carried over into the game. Will it carry over into the second of three with the Cardinals tonight at 7:45 PM ET?