Washington’s .252 batting average as a team following Thursday night’s win in the series opener with the Colorado Rockies had them ranked 6th in the majors.
Their .316 OBP as a team was ranked 9th.
The Nationals’ .358 SLG was 25th of 30 MLB teams, however.
Their 74 doubles were eighth most, but their 27 HRs overall on the year, through 47 games, were 29th of 30.
Is the lack of home runs on a team with Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Nelson Cruz, and Yadiel Hernández hitting in the middle of the order most nights a big concern for manager Davey Martinez?
“I think for Cruz-y he’s starting to swing the bat a lot better. It’s just about being consistent,” the fifth-year skipper said before last night’s game was postponed, “getting the balls in the air. Yesterday Bell missed a home run by a foot, remember he hit the ball really hard. So, for me it’s just about having good, consistent at-bats, and with those guys the home runs will come.”
Soto leads the team with eight in 202 plate appearances. Bell and Cruz have each hit four in 188 and 177 PAs, respectively. Yadiel Hernández (133 PAs) and Maikel Franco (183) have each hit three, with Lane Thomas (122) and Riley Adams (48) each hitting two thus far, and Keibert Ruiz (145) contributing one.
What Martinez said he didn’t want to see was his hitters swinging for the fences, and trying to hit home runs, as opposed to just hitting the ball up the middle and running into homers when they do, but keeping a solid approach instead of pressing for power.
“I don’t want them to try to hit home runs, I just want them to have good at-bats, you know,” the manager told reporters, “... and like I said, those guys that have hit home runs, I think if you look at the track record, a lot of these guys, when they hit one or two they usually come in bunches. I think that will happen. I do know that Nellie’s at-bats are getting better. He’s hitting the ball hard. As you know, Josh Bell yesterday hit the ball really hard, and he’s been doing well, just ... the power numbers are not there, but we’re only 47 games in, I think that will change. Yadi, same, I think Yadi as it starts getting hotter, the ball starts traveling better, I think you’ll start seeing those numbers go up.
“The biggest thing for me is run production, driving in runs,” he added. “That’s the key. I don’t want them to get caught up in just trying to hit home runs, but more or less having good at-bats when we have runners in scoring position, especially with less than two outs, and picking up that extra run or two or giving us a lead early in the game you know because we can drive in a run with less than two outs. And even with two outs, you know, just hitting the ball hard somewhere, but I do think the home runs will come.”