The SNY announce team covering the game was apoplectic when Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez lifted Kyle Schwarber after he went 3 for 4 with three homers over seven innings in Sunday’s series finale with the New York Mets in the nation’s capital.
The list of players with four home runs in a game is relatively short. How could Martinez not let Schwarber get another at bat and try for a 4th HR?
Schwarber had five in two games, and nine home runs on the 11-game homestand, and then you take him out of the game?
Well, as Martinez explained in his post game Zoom call, it was a decision he made with the long-term health of his slugger in mind.
“We had this knee issue before and it’s been bothering him a little bit,” the manager said.
“So I honestly thought it was a good spot,” he added. “[Gerardo] Parra pinch hit, and I wanted get [Schwarber] off his feet, with today and get him off tomorrow, and hopefully we’ll nip it in the bud and he’ll be back in there Tuesday.”
Schwarber hurt the knee on a diving play in the outfield in Atlanta earlier this month, and it’s been an issue on and off since, according to the Nats’ manager.
“It’s funny because it just comes and goes and I told him that he has to be honest with me,” Martinez said, “and the last couple innings he did say it was bothering him and I said, ‘See if you can get one more at bat, and then we’ll see how it goes.’
“And he went in there after he hit, he looked at me and said, ‘I’m done.’ And I said, ‘Okay, you’re out.’”
He had already hit the three home runs in the game, wrapping up an 11-game homestand over which he hit nine total, as mentioned, and went 13 for 38 (.342/.395/1.053) with the Nationals 8-3 in those games.
So, yeah, he earned a break, even if it was just a couple innings off.
“It just gets a little annoying, things like that, and this is a big game,” Schwarber said. “That was a big game, big series, and big homestand, I don’t want to take any chances of not getting to a ball or something like that, so that’s why I was just like, ‘Hey, man, let’s get GP out there, and let’s go win this game, that was kind of the biggest thing, that was my biggest thought. I mean, I can play through it. I’ve played the whole game through it, but I was just like, ‘Hey, we got three runs, let’s get someone out there, let’s get GP out there. He’s fresh, ready to go, and fans were behind him with the Baby Shark, and let’s get a win.”
The 5-2 win gave the Nationals 3 of 4 from the NL East division leaders in the series.
Schwarber, who earlier this month implored fans in the nation’s capital to stick with what he said is a really good team as he and his teammates started to pick things up on the homestand, reiterated his belief that they’re better than their 33-36 record after Sunday’s win.
“This is a good team. I don’t know what to tell you. This is a good team. We faced a lot of adversity,” Schwarber said.
“You see guys stepping up, you see the way that guys are throwing the baseball. You see the way guys are taking their at bats, we’re playing defense unbelievable right now, and we got an unbelievable fan base behind us right now. And we just want to keep this rolling. This is why I want to be here. This is why I wanted to come here, because I knew this was a great team and I knew that I just wanted to go out there and help them win ballgames, and you see it on paper, it looks unbelievable, and we saw the highlights of it in Spring Training and now that things are starting to get mixed together, and guys are going to start to get healthy, we’re going to see what we can keep doing. It’s not saying that down the road that there might be a stretch or something like that that we hit, but we’re going to keep going out there every day and we’re going to keep trying to execute our way, and have our at bats, play defense, pitch the way that we want to pitch and go from there.”
Having Schwarber healthy and in the lineup will be a big factor in how the Nationals build on what they’ve been doing over the last few weeks.