“It stings, every time we lose it stings,” Davey Martinez said after the Washington Nationals’ seventh straight loss and 12th loss in 14 games this month, but the manager stressed that he continues to be impressed with the effort from his club even if the results aren’t there.
“But like I said before these guys are — they’re just playing hard, they’re not giving up,” he added.
“And you know, honestly for me it’s fun to watch some of these guys getting an opportunity to play, and Carter [Kieboom] today, a couple hits, Luis [García] battling, battling, a couple hits, couple nice plays, these guys are all — [Riley] Adams today catching well. Base hit. So I’m learning a lot of things from all of our young players, and I’ll tell you right now some of these guys got heart and they’re playing hard, and I like it. And I tell them the results are going to come.
“You guys keep playing hard and the end result will be there. So don’t get your heads down.
“We’ll come back — we’ll have a day off — we’ll come back Tuesday and try to go 1-0 Tuesday.”
Martinez talked at length about the effort he saw from Kieboom on Sunday, on a 2 for 5 day for the 23-year-old infielder, who singled twice, driving in two runs, and hit a hard grounder toward third with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth, coming a great play by Braves’ third baseman Austin Riley away from at least tying things up in the Nationals’ 6-5 loss.
“It was awesome,” Martinez said of Kieboom’s day at the plate overall.
“He’s getting ready on time and he’s staying on the ball. His swing seems a little bit flatter, and he’s getting to pitches a lot better. So, that last ball he hit, we all thought it was down the line, Riley made a really nice play on it, but then again, they’ve got the closer in there, he hits the ball hard, unfortunately he was playing no-doubles in that situations and he made a nice play.”
Asked about the old process vs debate argument, Martinez said he was happy with the fact that Kieboom made solid contact on a veteran closer, though he would, of course, have wanted the result to be a hit in the end.
“For me, you talk about results, of course you want the ball to go through for him, but for me, the result was him coming up there in a big moment and squaring the ball up and hitting it hard. That is, for me, growth. He’s standing in there, he’s getting good swings, he’s having good at bats, so it’s coming and he’s getting it and I love what I’m seeing out of him at the plate.”
In 20 games since returning to the majors in late July, Kieboom is 18 for 68 (.265/.338/.382) with two doubles, two home runs, seven walks, and 19 Ks in 77 plate appearances.