Lane Thomas went 2 for 4 with two walks in three games and one start in left field after he was called up to the majors earlier this month, shortly after he was acquired by the Washington Nationals in a trade deadline deal that sent Jon Lester to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked before last night’s series opener in Milwaukee about sending the 25-year-old outfielder out there again for another start in left.
“He got an opportunity to start, he had some good at bats, got a couple of base hits, but I love — he’s a good outfielder, and he gives us a little bit more speed out in the outfield and on the bases, so I wanted to give him a chance to play against left-handed pitching and see what he can do, so he’s getting a chance to start.”
Thomas grounded into a double play the first time up in the top of the second, took an opportunity to review the at bat before stepping in against Brewers’ starter Brett Anderson a second time, and went with a 1-1 changeup outside, lining it to right for a two-run triple and a 2-0 lead in what ended up a 4-1 win.
“I think the first at bat I was a little aggressive trying to get the head of the bat out a little early,” Thomas said after the game, “and trying to do some more damage than I really needed to, and I think I just tried to be patient and see the ball deep because I didn’t think he was going to throw me anything that I was going to get beat on, and just kind of the infield kind of shifted me up the middle and there was a big hole there, so I was just trying to shoot something down that line and score a run.”
He drove in two of the four runs the club scored in their third consecutive win, and he finished the night 2 for 4.
“We’re able to go watch a little video on it,” he said of the in-game adjustments after the first at bat, “and see what pitches we saw and where they were, and yeah, I basically saw the same pitches in the next bat, and just tried to make a quick adjustment. It’s a game of adjustments, so the quicker you make them the better you are.”
“He’s a baseball player,” his manager said after the win. “He goes out there and his first at bat he rolled over, and his second at bat he made some adjustments, and wanted to stay on the ball and hit a triple down the right field line, and then he adjusted every at bat after that. He’s just a good baseball player, plays the game hard and plays the game the right way.”
Thomas, who was struggling in his third run in the majors with the Cards, said last night the trade to the Nats was an opportunity to start over with a new team in a new environment.
“I think it’s a little confidence booster coming in and getting a few hits the first time I’ve played,” Thomas said, “and I think it’s always good just playing in front of some new faces and new people that haven’t seen me play that much, you know, it gives you a little motivation to impress them and gain some more opportunities.”
Thomas is back in there today against another left-handed starter, starting in center field this time and leading off for the Nationals.
“I know what he can do,” Martinez said when asked about sending him back out again. “He really hits left-handed pitchers really well, and so I want to give him an opportunity to go out there and play and the fact that they got another lefty helps a lot that he gets two days in a row.”