Dave Martinez Talks Monday’s Roster Move:
Davey Martinez talked before the series finale in Texas about the side effect of getting good starting pitching recently: Some of his relievers were not getting a whole lot of work, which is a good thing, sure, but also something to monitor closely.
“For me it’s actually a good thing too,” the fifth-year manager explained, “… because that tells me that our starting pitchers are going deeper in the games, which is great. So, yeah, we definitely have to get some of these guys in there again. You don’t want them sitting for 9-10 days, so we’ll look for spots to get these guys in, but our starting pitching like I said, the last week has been doing really well, and I’m excited about that.”
The Nationals got six-plus from their starter on Sunday afternoon as well, with 26-year-old righty Jackson Tetreault going into the bottom of the seventh before he handed it over to Erasmo Ramìrez, who limited the damage to one run after he inherited a second and third, no-out jam.
Steve Cishek tossed a scoreless eighth, but in the ninth, lefty Francisco Pèrez gave up a leadoff double, RBI single, and a two-run home run, turning a 6-1 game into a 6-4 nail biter and forcing Martinez to call out closer Tanner Rainey for what was an unanticipated save opportunity, which Rainey converted with three outs around a two-out walk.
Martinez said it was frustrating he had to end up using his closer.
“Very frustrating,” he qualified. “Like I said, these guys — we got leads like that, some of these guys, I know they don’t pitch much, but they got to get outs for us.
“They’re a big part of our bullpen, they got to come in and get outs.”
It was Pérez’s fourth appearance in the majors since being called back up the latest time on June 14th, but his first outing since June 17th.
Martinez’s assessment of what went wrong for the lefty?
“Those guys [the Rangers], like I said, they can hit, he left some balls right over the heart of the plate, and they hit the ball hard.”
Before Monday’s series opener with the Pirates, Pérez was optioned back to Triple-A with lefty Sam Clay called up to join the Nationals’ bullpen for the start of the three-game set with the Bucs in D.C.
“This game, as you know, we have to make tough decisions,” Martinez said in explaining the roster move in his pregame press conference. “He had an outing yesterday, faced a couple batters, and got hit hard, so we just want him to go down there and continue to get some work in. We brought Sam [Clay] up, we’ll give him an opportunity. As you know, we’re short on lefties in the bullpen, we’re always searching, and we’re always looking, so Sam’s been pitching well down [at Triple-A] so we’re going to give him an opportunity to pitch up here.
“But that’s not to say that we won’t see Francisco again, he’s going to go down there and just continue to work.”
Hey Now, Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh, Get Your Game On?:
Davey Martinez is going to be part of the National League coaching staff with manager Brian Snitker in LA next month, which he discussed at length before last night’s game.
He was asked if it meant he might have some pull to get a couple Nationals added to the roster for the Midsummer Classic.
“I’m working on it. I’m working on it,” he joked.
“As you know, Josh [Bell] is having an amazing year. Juan [Soto] is Juan. Everybody says he’s struggling a little bit, but I look up and his OPS is over .800. [.808 before last night’s game.] So, he’s going to be just fine. But both those guys are well-deserved on being an All-Star. In my mind they are [All-Stars], they show up every day, play hard every day, and they lead our team in different things, but hopefully they’ll see it as that, and get picked, and our fans go out there and vote for those two.”
Bell started last night’s game with a .308/.390/.492 line, an .882 OPS, 12 doubles and 11 home runs in 74 games and 310 plate appearances on the season, and his manager agreed with a reporter who said his production has gone somewhat overlooked in national media.
“100%,” Martinez said. “Look, what he brings to our team, you can’t put value to that. Really. He’s unbelievable. Just his daily presence, you know, the positivity he brings, the way he goes about his business, the stuff he does off the field, all that stuff, he’s a professional, but once again, having the year that he’s having on the field, he definitely deserves to be an All-Star. Like I said, I view him as an All-Star, you know, that’s how good he is, that’s how much he means to us here in D.C. I hope that, like I said, I hope one, people see him as that, and the people that are going to get to pick him.”
Stephen Strasburg worked his way back from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome to get back on the mound in the majors, but after one start a setback landed him back on the IL, and the last we heard he and the Nationals were waiting for results from a second opinion.
They’re still waiting, apparently. Strasburg was spotted in the clubhouse in Nationals Park, so of course manager Davey Martinez was asked for an update before last night’s game.
Strasburg landed on the 15-day IL with what the club described as a “stress reaction in his ribs” back on June 14th, retroactive to June 11th, and the Nationals plan to take all the time they need to see what’s wrong and how to proceed.
“Yeah, we want to know what’s going on,” Martinez explained, “and like I said, he’s going to have to go through some time where he needs to heal before we’re going to get him back on the mound. Until we know definitively what’s absolutely going on, we’re going to let him take his time. Like I said, he’s been through a lot. He worked really hard to get back. He pitched again in the big leagues and all of a sudden he got hurt again, so we want to make sure we know what’s going on before we push him back.”