Davey Martinez’s club went 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position and eight left on base in Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, leaving them with a .234 AVG in at bats with runners in scoring position this season, which is 21st overall in the majors so far in 2021. Their .335 OBP w/ RISP is tied for 14th and their .344 SLG is 26th.
The club’s struggles with runners in scoring position this season were once again on display in the top of the third inning in Philadelphia, when Victor Robles and Austin Voth were hit in back-to-back at bats and Trea Turner singled to load the bases with no one out. Juan Soto singled to drive in a run, but Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber K’d swinging in back-to-back at bats, and Starlin Castro popped out to end the threat.
“I saw some of the swings today and they were really hard,” Martinez said after the 12-6 loss to the Nationals’ NL East rivals. “I think they’re trying to hit the ball 800 ft, I really do. So, I think that definitely right now at this point we get guys on base, and our 3-4-5 hitters today just pressed a little bit trying to knock in those runs. We got to get them to relax, just stay in the at bat and just hit the ball hard somewhere. We talked to Bell about it his last at bat, he comes up and hits a bullet to left field. So, those are the kind of at bats we need with guys on base.
“Don’t try to do too much, I mean, really, I’ve always said, just stay in the middle of the field and move the baseball.
“They scored a bunch of runs by taking their walks, and putting the ball in play. We need to start doing that with guys on base.”
The Nationals’ .247 AVG as a team overall is 6th best in the majors, their .317 OBP is 8th, and their .385 SLG is 21st, making their numbers with RISP more frustrating.
“We just got to continue to swing the bats,” Martinez said.
“Soto hit the ball well. Trea hit the ball well. [Josh Harrison] came in and pinch hit and hit the ball to right field like he was doing when he was really swinging well, so that’s encouraging.
“[Jordy] Mercer hit the ball well today. So we just got to keep going. I tell these guys all the time, ‘Hey, we can’t beat ourselves in the head, and we can’t give give up. As you know I’m not going to give up, so keep plugging away, we’ll get it right. Today we hit the ball and our bullpen wasn’t as good, but our bullpen has been really good some days where we just couldn’t score any runs. We got to put it all together, and hopefully get a day off tomorrow, our bullpen will freshen up we’ll come back Tuesday and play a really good team. Tampa is playing really well right now, so let’s come out and score first on Tuesday.”
The Rays have won two in a row and seven of the last ten going into today’s matchup.