Get Guys On For Juan ... and Trea:
Davey Martinez mixed things up a bit in his lineup on Wednesday night, with the goal, the fourth-year skipper said, of getting, “... guys on for the middle of our lineup.” With Andrew Stevenson leading off, and Jordy Mercer batting ninth, Martinez was hoping Turner (No. 2) and Soto (No. 3) would get RBI opportunities.
“We’re trying to — right now those two guys, once again, as always, Trea is swinging the bat well, Juan is Juan — we want to get guys on base for him.
“So, I thought today was — it’s something I wanted to do a few days ago — I wanted to get Stevenson a day to get out there. He matches up well against [Philly starter Zack Wheeler], and get him to lead off and see if we can jumpstart something. As I said earlier, we need to come out and try to score early. We haven’t done it. Hopefully we can do it today.”
Martinez also went with Ryan Zimmerman at first, giving Josh Bell a day off as the everyday first baseman continues to struggle at the plate, but those of you pining for more action at first base for Zimmerman shouldn’t read into that decision according to Martinez.
“I just wanted to give Bell a day today,” Martinez explained, after reiterating his belief in Bell being close to turning things around after Tuesday night’s game.
“[Bell has] been working really hard. Get Zim in there, again. We’ve got all these righties.
“Just get Zim in there today with the day game tomorrow. I thought it would be best to play him tonight.”
Josh Harrison also got a day off, after going 0 for 13 with five Ks in the previous three games, and Martinez said managing his workload this season was a consideration with Harrison in the lineup for 24 of 31 games early this season, and 18-straight going back to April 18th.
“That’s another reason why he’s not in there today. He’s been doing great. He’s been getting on base for us, knocked in some big runs for us,” Martinez said.
“We had the day off I know on Monday, just trying to give him another day with the day game tomorrow, and like I said, get Mercer some at bats today.
“Mercer is a really good fastball hitter. Hopefully today he can get a couple hits for us, and like I said, get on base for the top of the lineup.”
Bullpen Chatter — Wander Suero Ready for Call:
Wander Suero was reinstated from the IL on Wednesday afternoon, in advance of the 2nd of 3 with the Phillies in D.C., and the right-hander, who injured his left oblique and was out 24 days, after appearing in 8 of 12 games early this season, is likely to see a lot of action again, as one of his manager’s favorite options in the bullpen.
“The first thing I told him, I said, ‘You know when the phone rings — ‘ He says, ‘I’ll be ready.’” Martinez joked, returning to a running gag about how often he uses Suero as soon as relief help is needed. Kyle Finnegan took over in that role as the first man up in the ‘pen when the phone rings while Suero was out.
What will the Nationals’ skipper be watching as Suero works his way back in?
“I just want to make sure his mechanics are honed in. Like I said, he’s throwing the ball well,” Martinez told reporters.
“He’s got no limitations. We definitely don’t want him to throw 25-30 pitches, but he threw 24 the other day and he said he felt completely fine.”
Will Will Harris’s Hand Hold Up?:
Will Harris, who’s dealt with inflammation in his hand which kept him out of action early this season, though it’s still undiagnosed, made his third appearance since returning to the ‘pen on Tuesday night, recording two outs in a 20-pitch frame, which included a 14-pitch pitched battle with Jean Segura which ended with a lineout to center.
“It was a huge spot and he did really, really well,” Martinez said.
“As you know, he battled Segura there, threw him a bunch of pitches, and kept throwing strikes, kept throwing strikes, and did well.
“The big thing with him is getting him out there, try to get him back-to-back days, we’re still trying to build him up — and yesterday was a good indication that he’s close to being able to go back-to-back days and we’ll continue to monitor him.”
When they still don’t know what’s causing the issues with his hand, how will they determine when he’s good to go? By asking.
“It’s based on conversation with him,” Martinez said. “At this point now, I talk to him every time, I’ll go out there today and ask him how he’s doing, and he’ll tell me he probably needs a day. I’m waiting for that one day he says, ‘Hey, I’m good. I’m ready to go today.’
“Until then we’re going to make sure we take care of him, because as you can see, when he can get out there and pitch he can help us win games.”