Victor Robles, in his last nine games before this afternoon’s day half of a doubleheader with the Colorado Rockies in D.C., was 6 for 22 (.273/.360/.273), though all six hits were singles, to go along with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and seven Ks in 26 plate appearances, and he’d put together a fairly consistent 30-game stretch as well, going 23 for 83 (.277/.337/.349) in 97 PAs over that stretch.
In those 30 games, he’d hit six doubles, driven in 12 runs, taken six walks, and reached base twice via HBP, while scoring 14 runs.
With that 30-game stretch, however, he was just up to .228/.295/.287 overall on the season, with six doubles, seven walks, and 34 Ks in 118 PAs on the year.
“We’re trying to get him consistent now, right,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters early this week.
“We felt we had him in a good spot on that one road trip,” Martinez added, pointing to a run in late April/early May in which Robles went 10 for 27 (.370/.419/.444) in nine games played for the 24-year-old outfielder in San Francisco, Colorado, and Anaheim.
“And now we’re trying to get him back there. But he’s working diligently ... we made some adjustments mechanically, trying to get him to stay on the baseball and use the whole field, and just play the game the way we see fit for him. He’s made some nice bunts, he’s trying to get on base, we got to get him to play consistent defense, and run the bases correctly.
“So, we got to remember, he’s still really young, so we’re going to keep working with him and hopefully he gets better.”
Robles went 1 for 4 with a run scored in the Nationals’ win in the series opener with the Rockies on Thursday, and really broke out in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, driving in two runs with a single the first time up, singling to drive another run in in the second, and then hitting a three-run home run in his third trip to the plate.
The homer was Robles’s first of the season, and it traveled 377 feet to left and stayed just inside the foul pole. It was his first since August 4, 2021, actually.
A hit-by-pitch made it four times on base in four plate appearances by Robles, and his six RBIs were a career-high for the Nationals’ outfielder.
“I know he was ecstatic just because he loves his team and he loves his teammates and he wants to contribute,” Martinez said, after noting he was really happy for Robles after a 3 for 4 day overall, on which he also stole his second base of the season.
“So, it was a big day for him. I’m going to check on him, he got walloped and he got stiff throughout the game, so I’ll see how he’s doing, but he did well, he did really well today, and it’s just him putting in the time, putting in the work with [Hitting Coach] Darnell [Coles] every day, and he’s swinging a lot better. We’re trying to get him to not chase and stay in the zone. He did really well today. He took some really tough pitches, and he laid off them which is great.”
Martinez’s faith in Robles has never wavered, at least not based on his public statements, but he seemed sincere when he said he continues to have faith the center fielder will be something special in the end.
“I truly believe in him and so does this organization,” Martinez said.
“He’s got unbelievable skills, and we just got to try to get it out of him, and just — we’re going to stick with him. I’ve said before there’s going to be days where I’ll give him a little breather, but we want him to be our everyday center fielder. That’s what we look for him to do and we’re going to work. As long as he puts the work in and we feel like he’s in, all-in, we’re going to continue to work with him, continue to push him a little bit and see what we’ve got from him, but I think he’s going to be an unbelievable player. We know what he can do defensively, we’re trying to make him better on the bases — again he stole a base today on a 2-2 count, you know, he’s been talking to [First Base Coach Eric Young] about when he should run and when he shouldn’t run, but the mental game for him is so much more important, that if he starts getting that, I think physically he’s capable of doing a lot of different things.”
“Today, he hit a home run off his front foot, basically almost one-handed on a breaking ball which was in the zone and he stayed on that ball well,” Martinez continued.
“That only goes to show you how strong he is, and if we can continue to get him to do that and not chase, I think he’s going to be fine.
“Look, the kid’s struggling, and he’s got 19 RBIs for us hitting at the bottom, and that’s good, so we’re going to continue to work with him every day and hopefully he gets better.”
Robles went 1 for 4 at the plate in the nightcap of the doubleheader, but made an ill-advised and errant throw which led to one of three runs for the Rockies in a 3-2 win, and with a man on second and no one out in the bottom of the seventh, after the visitors went up in the top of the inning, he fouled off a two-strike bunt attempt (which he did on his own) and gave his manager multiple teachable moments he said he’s revisit with the outfielder.
“This will be conversations that we have for tomorrow, and it’s trying to teach him,” Martinez said.
“It’s not — this is one-on-one for him, we’re not scolding him, but it’s a teaching moment, so he understands to maybe next time it happens, he’ll do something different.”