“We just need that one big hit with guys on base to get us going, and I think it’s a trickle effect,” Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said after his club’s fifth straight loss this past Sunday.
“Once you get that one hit and you get a couple RBIs, you’ll start seeing more of it happen. We just got to get our lineup stretched out, get them all hitting at one time, and have a big inning.”
Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth in last night’s series opener with the Miami Marlins in D.C., the home team in the nation’s capital set themselves up for the sort of big inning their manager was looking for to spark the offense.
Juan Soto and Josh Bell took leadoff and one-out walks, respectively, and Yadiel Hernàndez drove Soto in with an RBI single, but Bell and Hernàndez were then thrown out at home on back-to-back hits by first Keibert Ruiz and then Maikel Franco.
Bell, who has been dealing with knee and hamstring issues in the last week, tried to score from second on Ruiz’s grounder to center, but Marlins’ center fielder Jesùs Sánchez’s throw in beat him to the plate by a few steps for the second out of the Nationals’ half of the fourth, then Hernàndez ran through third base coach Gary DiSarcina’s stop sign and got thrown out by right fielder Avisaíl García on Franco’s opposite field hit.
The Nationals’ manager talked after the club’s sixth straight loss about what he saw on each of those consecutive outs at home plate which killed a potential rally.
“I saw what DiSarcina saw,” Martinez said, backing his coach’s decision to send Bell home.
“The guy [Sànchez] hadn’t even reached the ball yet by the time [Bell] got past third base, just Josh is not running well. But I saw exactly what [DiSarcina] saw. I thought for sure he was going to make it or [Sànchez] wouldn’t throw the ball, but he threw the ball and made a good throw too, and the other one Yadi ran through the stop sign, so we talked to Yadi, he said he thought he saw him — he didn’t see him on time, and he was going, so it was a close play but he did run through the stop sign.”
Given how they’ve struggled to score runs early this season, Martinez said it was, of course, frustrating to get just one out of that sort of opportunity.
“Oh, it’s frustrating,” he said, “… but also too, we got to try to score runs. We’re not scoring many runs, so we got to be — like I said, when that ball was hit, the first one was hit, I thought for sure where he was standing when Josh Bell hit [third] base he had a very legitimate chance, but Josh is playing hard, he’s doing the best he can, but like I said, he’s struggling a little bit right now. So, we just got to be conscious of that, but the other one, like I said, Yadi ran through the stop sign.”
His main takeaway from the sequence was that even though Bell was able to play, he’s clearly not playing at 100%.
“Yeah, like I said, we got to be conscious of it. Before the game he said he was good.
“He told everybody he was good to go, but we got to know now that hey, we just can’t push him that much until he really feels better.”
Bell is apparently feeling good enough to play again tonight…