Victor Robles sat out of the first two games in PNC Park this weekend, working behind the scenes to get his swing right as the 24-year-old outfielder tries to bounce back from tough seasons in 2020-21.
“We’ve been working with Victor,” manager Davey Martinez explained on Friday. “And he’s been coming in early to hit, and I wanted to give him these two days to work with [Hitting Coach] Darnell [Coles]. He’s been swinging a lot, and we talked to him today, and he swung the bat really well today in early BP, so I told him, I said, ‘Be ready to play today if we need you ... but tomorrow, you’ll play, and you’ll play for the next two days — and then we’ll see where he’s at.”
Robles returned to the lineup for Saturday’s matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but went 0 for 2 with a walk before Martinez hit for him with Yadiel Hernández with a runner on and two out in what was a one-run game in the eighth.
What did the Nats’ skipper see from Robles (who’s now 0 for 18 with a walk and seven Ks to start the season) in his plate appearances last night? He K’d swinging the first time up, and walked in his second PA, before lining out to second base in his final trip to the plate.
“He had a couple of balls [that were] questionable, I got to go look at them, he fell behind a couple times,” Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 6-4 loss, “... but like I said, he’s staying on top of the baseball, which is good, and I told him as long as you’re hitting balls like that, they’ll start falling, don’t — I don’t want him to get upset, just keep getting ready to hit and stay on top of the baseball, and those will come. I know we pinch hit for him, but we had a chance with Yadi, it was a good matchup for Yadi to see if we could score some runs there.”
As a team, the Nationals went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position last night, and 11 left on base overall in what ended up a two-run game.
“We had some opportunities with guys on base,” Martinez said after the club fell to 4-6 in 10 games. “We hit the ball hard though, we lined out a few times, we just couldn’t get that big hit with guys on base. It was a tough night offensively. We tried to scratch and claw there at the end, but couldn’t finish it.”
Now the Nationals will try for a split of the four-game set at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.