While they lost their third straight game to the Philadelphia Phillies last night, Washington’s Nationals had a lot of positives to point to as their young stars provided some evidence of what the future could hold when they’re ready to make another run at the playoffs, though, if you ask them, they don’t necessarily think they’re out of it right now.
Victor Robles, 24, who went 1 for 3 with a walk and a homer on the first pitch from Phillies’ starter Chase Anderson, was part of 2019’s World Series championship team, and he said he’s not waving a white flag on the 2021 season yet, even if the odds are against the Nationals getting anywhere near the postseason.
“No, the focus for me personally is to do the same thing. The whole goal here is to make the playoffs,” Robles said.
“I know the team had to make some moves, something we can’t control, but we still have that in mind, we still are trying out there to win the games and hopefully get to the playoffs.”
Robles’s home run was just his second of the season.
Luis García, 21, hit two last night, one to right field in the second, and then another to left field in the seventh.
The second of the two was off left-hander Matt Moore, which García said was a good sign for him that he’s locked in at the plate.
“It is a very good sign,” García told reporters. “It’s something that I’ve worked hard a lot this offseason trying to get more acclimated to facing lefties, and just seeing how the fruits of my labor, with the hard work I’ve put in this offseason, are starting to show. I’m very excited about that.”
Carter Kieboom went back-to-back with García in the second, sending his second of the season in the majors, and second of the series with the Phillies, 410 feet to left field for a solo shot, obviously, and the first of two hits on the night.
Kieboom, 23, now has multi-hit games in three of his last six games, as he’s getting regular at bats in the majors following the Nationals’ fire sale at the trade deadline.
“He’s staying in his legs a lot better,” manager Davey Martinez said after the game. “He really is, and he’s attacking the ball early. As you can see, he’s starting to swing the bat early in the count, not hitting with two strikes all the time, so that definitely helps a lot.”
Seeing all the young, talented players on the roster right now swinging the bats they way they did, had the fourth-year skipper excited.
“Absolutely,” Martinez said.
“It’s encouraging to see these guys — like I said, they’re getting an opportunity to play and they’re making the best of it right now. We got to keep those guys going.”
Avoiding getting swept in the four-game set with the Phillies would be nice too.