Juan Soto is 11 for 29 (.379/.591/.759) with two doubles, three home runs, 15 walks, and four Ks in nine games and 44 plate appearances on the Washington Nationals’ final road trip of the season, which wraps up with this afternoon’s 3:10 PM ET matchup with the Colorado Rockies, but the 22-year-old slugger, who currently sits second in the race for the National League batting title (at .318 to former teammate Trea Turner’s .325) is just 1 for 8 with a walk and two Ks in 9 PAs in two games in Coors Field.
What’s going on with Soto?
“I think a couple things, one, it’s he’s been playing a lot,” ‘manager Davey Martinez said after Soto’s 0 for 4 game in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Rockies. “Two, sometimes you come here to Colorado and you know how the ball travels here, and you try to do a little too much. For me, as I always tell him, just try to hit the ball, and stay in the middle of the field, don’t try to hit the ball in the air, just hit the balls hard, and the balls will go.
“You don’t have to do anything different here, the balls will travel here, and I just want him to just relax and go out there and have some good at-bats and have fun.”
The Nationals, as a team, were a combined 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and seven left on base in the loss in the second of three with the Rockies, connecting for just seven hits total and scoring their only run on a bases-loaded walk by Lane Thomas in the top of the seventh.
They left the bases loaded after Thomas’s patient plate appearance, however, which was the second bases-loaded walk in two days after catcher Keibert Ruiz took one in the series opener in Denver.
If you’re looking for positives out of the split of the first two, there’s something there to latch onto, with Nats’ hitters taking what’s given and not getting too big in high-leverage spots.
“Absolutely,” Martinez said. “I mean, like we said, just work good at-bats, they both worked good at-bats, got a big walk there. Now tonight, I think the double plays hurt us a little bit tonight, so we’ll rebound tomorrow, we’ve been swinging the bats well, we’ve been having good at-bats, so we’ll rebound tomorrow and hopefully score some runs.”
The four double plays they hit into last definitely did not help the cause.
They do, however, have an opportunity to end the road portion of the 2021 schedule on a positive note, with a series win in Colorado if they can take the finale with the Rockies this afternoon.
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE FINALE WITH THE ROCKIES:
Paolo Espino spent 10 years in the minors before making his MLB debut in 2017.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 29, 2021
He made his Nats debut in 2020 after 2 more years in MiLB.
This season, he recorded his 1st MLB save, 1st MLB win and became a steady force in our rotation.
What a season.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/gE8nGQ8mVY