A 2 for 3 day at the plate on May 13th left Starlin Castro with a .309/.356/.398 line after six weeks, 33 games, and 135 plate appearances this season, but over 25 games and 103 PAs since, the 31-year-old infielder has put up a .168/.223/.211 line, leaving him at .248/.298/.317 overall on the year. Castro had a .363 BABIP in that first stretch, which was down to .217 in the second, which might argue for the claims of bad luck we’ve heard from Davey Martinez when it comes to what we’ve seen from the Nationals’ third baseman over the last weeks (or maybe it’s more about the type of contact he’s making).
Castro’s two-hit game on Wednesday in Tampa Bay was just his second multi-hit game since that arbitrary-ish May 13th date when things turned.
The second of his two hits was a big one though, with Castro jumping on a first-pitch sinker from Rays’ reliever Diego Castillo, and doubling to left on a liner off the outfield wall that did not miss going out by much, but was enough to drive in the free runner teams get in extras these days.
“Just to show you how things are kind of going,” Davey Martinez said after the game, noting the Nationals’ struggles with luck and runners in scoring position this season. “He missed hitting a home run by what, six inches, but he knew Castillo, he knew what he was going to throw him. [Castillo is] thinking he’s trying to get the ball over to get the guy to third base.
“For us, hey, we’re on the road, and I tell these guys we’re on the road, let it fly, you know, and we’re looking to score some runs. Big run right there.”
Castro drove in the first run of two the Nats scored in that inning, and scored the second in a 9-7 win over the AL East’s first-place Rays. He talked after the game about how he and his teammates are continuing to battle in their at bats with runners in scoring position in spite of the lack of success.
“I think we battle. I think we battle,” Castro said.
“I think that’s really good that we win a game like that, like a really good game against a really good team. I think that we want to continue to do what we do, like tonight, just get aggressive at the plate, just look for pitches that we can drive and start hitting with people in scoring position.”
Before the first of four with the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants in D.C. was rained out last night, the Nationals’ skipper used Castro’s at bat in Tropicana Field as an example of the sort of at bat that could turn things around for the team.
“I talk a lot, and I know I mentioned to you guys, about in situations like that, being ready to hit early in counts,” Martinez said. “Guys want to get ahead. A perfect example yesterday, Starlin — as he knew, I really didn’t want him to get the guy over, I wanted to get him over and in, and he jumped on the first pitch and missed hitting a home run by six inches. So, that to me could jumpstart not only him, but our club as well, just say hey, look, we’ve got to be more aggressive, we’ve got to take advantage of these opportunities with guys on base, so it was good.
“Yesterday we saw some great at bats, clutch at bats in those late innings, so let’s see if we can carry that over today.”
Maybe it will carry over two days later? If they actually play tonight...