Carter Kieboom squared some balls up, but didn’t have much to show for it on the road trip to Milwaukee, Miami, and New York, going 4 for 32 (.125 AVG) with a double, home run, five walks, and 12 Ks in nine games, but he went 2 for 4 with a home run in the first of three with the Phillies on Monday, and he homered again in the second of three with Philly in D.C. this past Tuesday night.
“He hit some balls in Miami and didn’t get nothing for it,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ loss to the Phillies on Monday. “But he was on a roll there where he was just lining out, lining out, hitting some balls hard. He did the same thing in New York a little bit, and for a young kid, sometimes you start hitting those balls and you want them to fall and get hits, and then you start chasing hits.”
Martinez wanted to make sure that didn’t happen, so he talked to the Nationals’ 23-year-old, 2016 first-round pick.
“And it’s a conversation that we had with him, ‘Hey, don’t worry about getting hits. Just keep yourself on time and hit the ball hard and they’ll fall in.’
“Tonight, he was a lot better, I saw he was a little more relaxed, and he got a pitch where he drove it to left-center field which was awesome.”
Kieboom’s second home run in two days was another shot to left field, this one off Phillies’ lefty Matt Moore, on a 2-1 changeup up in the zone, after he hit a fastball down and in off a right-hander, Zack Wheeler, on Monday.
“He did well,” Martinez said. “He got set up a little bit earlier today, which was kind of nice.
“And like I said, he got a ball down and in, which is a tough ball off a righty, and actually squared it up and hit it really good.”
Kieboom finished the month of August 24 for 96 (.250/.348/.469) with three doubles, six home runs, 12 walks, and 29 Ks in 27 games and 122 plate appearances.
In the first two games with the Phillies, he’s 3 for 8 with two home runs. What will he do in the series finale this afternoon?