Davey Martinez talked at length before last night’s game against the Rays about his decision to put slugger Kyle Schwarber atop the lineup as now-former Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon did at times when all three were still on the North Side of Chicago.
“Moving Schwarber up in the lineup just to get him up there against a right-handed pitcher, see if we can just jumpstart our offense a little bit. Get him up there and get him a couple at bats against the right-hander,” Martinez explained, before the Nationals faced Tyler Glasnow in the first of two in Tampa Bay.
“[Schwarber] typically works good counts, good at bats,” Martinez continued, “sees a lot of pitches, and like I said, he’s aggressive on fastballs, so hopefully he gets a fastball early in the count to hit and he can do some damage.”
The fourth-year manager also said he was also thinking ahead, lining up left-right-left-right-switch-right in the top sixth in anticipation of the Rays potentially going to the bullpen early in the game.
“I’m thinking about, I always say, try to get some runs off their starter first. Glasnow is one of their guys. Trying to get Schwarber in there before they flip it to a lefty, so trying to get Schwarber a couple at bats against him until we see how for we can go. But the biggest thing for me is trying to score first, that’s always the objective for us and trying to see if we can jumpstart our offense.”
Glasnow gave up a run in the third, when Starlin Castro singled to start the frame, moved up on a wild pitch with one down, and scored, after a Schwarber walk, on an RBI single to center by Trea Turner, but that was all the scoring the Nationals did in what ended up a 3-1 loss, though they did have some opportunities, going 2 for 6 overall with runners in scoring position overall and seven left on base.
Schwarber went 0 for 3 with two Ks and a walk, and he saw 22 pitches from Glasnow in three at bats, working good ABs at least, before a five-pitch at bat against Rays’ reliever J.P. Feyereisen ended his night. Was that the plan playing out like Martinez hoped it would?
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said in his post game Zoom call. “I also though that he mixed in a walk, and I thought he could hit if Glasnow — if Glasnow gets behind him.
“Credit to Glasnow, he’s a good pitcher, he really is. He’s got a good mix of pitches, he bears down, so, but I thought Schwarber saw a bunch of pitches today which could lead into some good at bats moving forward.”
Asked if he liked the matchup with Schwarber and Glasnow, or if he might consider doing it again at some point, Martinez said, “I could see him up again, using him up there, like I said, he’ll work his walks and see a bunch of pitches.
“It’s good for the rest of the club and he’ll get some pitches to hit.”
Did Martinez do it again for the second game under AL rules? Nope.