Davey Martinez has the option every night right now of sending either 26-year-old catcher Tres Barrera, a 2016 6th Round pick by the Nationals, or 25-year-old Riley Adams, who was acquired at the trade deadline in a deal that sent closer Brad Hand to Toronto’s Blue Jays, out there behind the plate.
Last night it was Barrera’s turn, and the homegrown backstop guided Erick Fedde through a solid 6 1⁄3-inning outing, while going 3 for 4 with a home run at the plate. Barrera has posted a .279/.374/.407 line on the year, with three doubles and two home runs over 28 games and a total of 99 plate appearances.
Adams, in 14 games and 38 PAs since coming to Washington, has a .333/.421/.606 line with three doubles and two home runs as well.
“It’s great to have both of them like that,” Martinez said after the Nationals’ 5-1 win in the first of three in Miami.
“I can match both of those guys up with different pitchers to catch and also match them up against guys I feel like they can do that. I thought today with Tres, he could get a ball out over the plate a little bit and hit — be able to be okay with it. He had great at bats, I like the ball that he hit to right field as well with two strikes, and then he comes up and man, his swing was so short today, and that was good to see.
“He came up and hit a breaking ball, a changeup out for a home run, and I thought that was the shortest swinging I’ve seen him have in a while.”
Barrera singled on a high 0-2 fastball the first time up against Marlins’ lefty Jesús Luzardo, then homered the second time up, hitting a 2-2 curve Luzardo left up in the middle of the plate out to left for a 2-run shot and a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
“It was a two-strike at bat,” Barrera said of the home run pitch. “I feel like I’ve been getting deep into counts lately in the last few games I’ve been playing.
“You know, seeing a lot pitches, and honestly, I saw the four-hole open,” he explained, “the second baseman kind of shifted up the middle with the infield in, and honestly I was just trying to hit a ground ball through the hole over there to get the RBI, and he left a curveball up in the zone and I just reacted, it just happened.”
Who’s getting the start tonight against debuting Marlins’ starter Edward Cabrera?