Lane Thomas talked after wrapping up a nice 14-game stretch with his new team in August with a 1 for 4 game on August 31st in which he hit a double and took a walk which left him with a .304/.407/.457 line in his first 54 plate appearances with the Washington Nationals, about getting an opportunity to play every day now after playing a total of 84 games in the majors for the St. Louis Cardinals between 2019-2021.
“I think it’s just the consistency of at-bats,” Thomas said when asked about his production in the first few weeks with the Nationals following the July 30th trade from the Cards.
“When I was with the Cardinals I was only taking a couple of at bats a week, and then got the opportunity to go play in Triple-A and kind of get my feet back under me,” Thomas told reporters. “So before I came here I was playing every day and then got to play in Rochester before I got activated, so I think it’s just getting the consistent at bats every day has helped out. Let’s just hope it keeps going that way.”
In 15 games and 72 PAs so far in September, Thomas is 19 for 62 (.306/.389/.581) with three doubles, a triple, and four home runs, which is one fewer than he’d hit over those 84 games and 142 PAs he got over three years in the majors with the Cards.
“We knew he had good bat to ball skills. Pull power? Yeah,” manager Davey Martinez said in a post game Zoom call after Thomas hit his fourth home run with the Nationals back on the 12th of September, this one an opposite field blast.
“I thought he could drive some balls. But going the other way is awesome,” Martinez added.
“And it’s good see. But we talk a lot about him utilizing the whole field. When we first saw him and he took batting practice, he was very pull happy, and we tried to get him to use the other side of the field. And he’s done it well. To see him hit the ball the other way like that, that’s a good sign.”
With a single in his third trip to the plate on Wednesday afternoon, Thomas has reached base in 16 of the last 17 games, with a .300/.390/.557 line, 21 hits, and 11 walks over that stretch.
“Yeah, he’s done really well,” Martinez said after the Nationals’ loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. “I like him a lot. He’s not afraid — he takes pitches — he’s not afraid to hit with two strikes, so he takes pitches, so he works good counts and puts the ball in play. He hits the ball hard, and you see the results that he’s having, so he’s been a joy to watch.
“His defense has been pretty good as well, so he’s getting a chance to play every day and he’s taking every opportunity to do the best he can.”
Thomas is back atop the lineup and playing center again tonight in the series opener with the Colorado Rockies in D.C.