clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Washington Nationals’ lineup for the 2nd of 4 with the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field...

New, 1 comment

Davey Martinez’s club looks to even things up with the Cubs after the Nationals’ dropped the series opener in Wrigley Field.

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Starlin Castro’s 11-game hit streak ended in Arizona, and after an 0 for 4 game last night in Chicago, Washington’s third baseman is in the midst of an 0 for 19 mini-slump, with some hard-hit outs over that stretch, but no hits to show for his occasionally solid contact in the last four games.

Juan Soto has hits in six of his last seven games, but he’s hitting a lot of ground balls and can’t seem to elevate the ball since returning from a 10-game stint on the Injured List. It’s hard to say he’s in a slump, but the 22-year-old slugger has just one extra base hit over 13 games since he returned from the IL. Is the shoulder strain that kept him out still an issue?

Davey Martinez talked after last night’s loss to the Cubs about the fact that several of his hitters can’t seem get any elevation on the balls they’re making contact with right now.

Is there something he’s seen that can explain what’s going on?

“I don’t know,” Martinez said. “We’re hitting the ball hard. I feel bad for Starlin, I mean, over the past couple of days, few days, he’s really hit the ball hard, and has nothing to show for it. So, I mean, and Juan, you watch him in batting practice, and he’s hitting balls just like he normally does to left-center field, homers to right field, center field, and I’m talking about balls that are crushed. So, I think it’s just a matter of, one, not trying to do too much, just go up there and just see the ball and hit it. I mean, like I said before, Juan is going to start getting the ball in the air, he’s going to start hitting his home runs and start driving the ball in the gaps, I know that.”

“Starlin, I don’t want him to start thinking too much up there. He’s hitting the ball. He just hasn’t had any luck. Hopefully it will change tomorrow.”

Castro’s bad luck continued in the eighth last night, when he hit a bases-loaded one-hop grounder toward the right side in the eighth, with the Nationals trailing 6-3 at the time. It didn’t get through. Cubs’ second baseman Nico Hoerner ranged to his left, slid over the grass in short right, and threw to first for out No. 3, ending the potential rally.

“Their second baseman made one heck of a play,” the manager added in his post game call with reporters.

“I just want him to go out there and keep going, don’t try to change anything, but see the ball like he always does and try to hit it hard and stay in the middle of the field.

“That’s what he’s good at.”

Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner homered last night. Josh Bell had a two-hit game. The club, as a whole, however, had just two at bats with runners in scoring position (0 for 2), and they left five on base in a 7-3 loss.

We’ve seen what the lineup can do when they all get rolling at once, but those games have been few and far between.

Will they turn it around tonight and event things up with the Cubs?

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR TONIGHT’S GAME WITH THE CUBS: