After a 3 for 12 series in Citizens Bank Park earlier this month, Juan Soto is now 28 for 90 in 23 career games in the Philadelphia Phillies’ home (.311/.417/.744), with four doubles and 11 home runs in 108 plate appearances.
He talked after homering in the opener of that series about what he likes about hitting in CBP.
“I like the field,” Soto said. “I like the stadium, pretty small, the ball flies. I like it. I don’t know, man, I just try to come here, try to do the same things against every team. Just try to put the ball in play, try to help my team as much as I can and try to take advantage of the field. Try to get the ball to the other way and let it travel.”
On the season, Soto, who is 24 for 104 (.231/.377/.260) with three doubles over 103 plate appearances in Nationals Park, is 31 for 95 on the road (.326/.439/.621) with two doubles, one triple, and all eight of his home runs hit away from the nation’s capital.
So maybe another road trip is just what the Nationals’ right fielder needs?
After he showed signs of improvement at the plate early this month, and started elevating the ball again, hitting four of his eight home runs on the season in an eight-game stretch, the power has dipped again.
In the 11-game homestand the Nationals just completed this past weekend, their 22-year-old slugger was 9 for 34 (.265/.375/.294) with a double (in Sunday’s series finale), and six Ks.
Before the fourth of four with the New York Mets in D.C., Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked about what he’s seen from Soto in this recent stretch.
“We just got to get him — he started getting ready on time, and then he fell back into not being on time and trying to pull everything again, so encouraging that he hit the ball the other way yesterday again,” Martinez explained.
“And then he was able to get the ball in the air and hit a line drive to right field, so we’ll just continue to monitor him and make sure that he’s on time.
“When he is on time he hits the ball awfully hard. He hits the ball hard quite a bit, and the other thing too is about his walks. His chase rate has been a lot higher than it’s been as of late, so we’re trying to get him back in the zone.”
Soto went 2 for 4 in the Nationals’ 5-2 win on Sunday, with a line drive double to center in his first at bat, and line drive single to right in his final trip to the plate in the game.
So he ended the homestand on a positive note, and he did have hits in seven of the last eight games. All positive signs, though he had just the one extra base hit.
Will getting back on the road, and back to Citizens Bank Park, get Soto going again?
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE 1ST OF 2 WITH THE PHILLIES:
NOTES: You might notice that Max Scherzer is back! Good news. The bad news? Kyle Finnegan put on the 10-day Injured List (retroactive to June 21) with a left hamstring strain.