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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on prepping for an opener; Luis García with RISP + more...

Highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Saturday...

Facing An Opener To Start:

Davey Martinez tried to set his lineup up for Texas Rangers’ right-hander Matt Bush, and he tried to also account for the fact that Bush, who’d made 30 appearances, but only three starts so far in 2022, wouldn’t be around for long, with the home team going with an opener for the second game of the three-game series with Washington’s Nationals in Globe Life Field this weekend.

“It’s kind of tough, because you try to figure out who’s in their bullpen and what they might try to do,” Martinez explained, “but they have a bunch of lefties and a bunch of righties, so the fortunate thing for us is that we have a bunch of switch-hitters, and I try to make out the lineup based on how we feel we can handle their rotation for today. So, that’s how I decided to bump César [Hernández] back to seventh just because I wanted to get Lane [Thomas] up there against Matt Bush, because Lane does hit fastballs well.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“So, maybe he can get a jumpstart for us, then you have all those switch hitters in a row, so we’ll see what happens. It’s always difficult to plan a day when you don’t know that a guy is going to pitch 5-6 innings.”

Of course, Bush didn’t end up opening up the second of three in Globe Life Field.

Lefty Brett Martin did, then 2015 Nats’ 5th Round pick Taylor Hearn tossed four scoreless out of the pen, giving up just two one-out walks in the top of the second.

As a poet once wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley, an’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain.”

Does He Get Mad?:

Towards the end of Davey Martinez’s pregame press conference on Saturday, a reporter asked the fifth-year skipper what they said was an admittedly silly question:

Does right-hander Paolo Espino, who’s seemingly imperturbable, ever, you know, get angry?

We’re paraphrasing the question, but Davey liked it.

“Good question,” Martinez said. “Not necessarily, but he does get frustrated. Yesterday, he was frustrated after he threw that pitch and [Rangers’ outfielder Adolis] García hit a home run, because he said, ‘I wasn’t convicted to throw that pitch and I threw it anyway, which is dumb.’ So I said, ‘Hey, just learn. Learn and don’t do it again, right?’”

MLB: Washington Nationals at Texas Rangers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

“But he was upset with himself, and I said, ‘Hey, man, for what it’s worth, you did awesome, so put that one by you, and learn by your mistakes and move on.”

Espino, in his own post game press conference after he gave up just the one run on the HR, six hits, and one walk in an 89-pitch, 5 1/3-inning outing in the series opener in Texas, said it didn’t really matter to him that he lowed his ERA to 2.21 on the year in the outing, since it is way too early in the season to be thinking about stats.

“That’s nice, but right now I’m not looking at ERA. It’s too early,” Espino said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

García Es Embrague

Luis García joined the Nationals after he was called up from Triple-A on June 1st, and going into Saturday’s game, he had a .326/.337/.465 line, six doubles, two home runs, one walk, a hit by pitch, and nine runs scored, but perhaps even more impressive were his numbers with runners in scoring position since he came up.

García started the second of three with the Rangers 8 for 23 (.348/.333/.478) with runners in scoring position in 2022, and 6 for 12 with RISP and two outs (.500/.500/.667), with two of his six doubles two-out hits.

If clutch, you know, existed...

Washington Nationals v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

“He’s worked really hard,” manager Davey Martinez said of García’s success in those spots in his first month up this season, after he played at Triple-A in April and May.

“We talked to him last year about what we felt like he needed to do,” Martinez continued, and for now, they want him hunting pitches he knows he’s having success on.

“He’s not going to be a guy that’s going to get tons of walks right now. He may in the future. He’s very aggressive. It was understanding the strike zone more for him, and knowing what balls he can hit, what balls he hits hard, locations, and once he did that, then we started seeing that he’s been hitting [a fair] amount of balls in the zone very well, and I know he notices that, so his whole approach is to get the ball in, get the ball up, doesn’t have to be in, doesn’t have to be away, it just has to be up in the zone and he’s putting a good swing on each of those pitches.”