“A swinging bat is a dangerous bat,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals’ 8-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night in Great American Ball Park.
Washington’s fifth-year skipper, talking after the club snapped a 27-inning scoreless streak, said what he was seeing from his hitters isn’t what works for the roster they assembled in the nation’s capital.
“The only way we’re going to get out of it is by getting good pitches and swinging at good pitches, and attacking the strike zone early. That’s what we’re really good at,” Martinez said.
“When we’re going good, we go up there and we’re ready to hit. And the last few days I’m watching and we’re taking too many strikes, we really are, and putting ourselves in a hole.”
Martinez’s club came out swinging in the second of four with the Reds last night, with Lane Thomas hitting three home runs, Nelson Cruz and Juan Soto hitting one each, and the club putting up eight runs total, on 12 hits, while going 3 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the win.
Catcher Riley Adams was the only one of the Nationals’ nine position players without a hit on the second night in GABP.
Their bats were dangerous for a night, after they struggled in New York and on night one in Cincinnati.
“That was the message today,” Martinez told reporters after the Nats’ win snapped a four-game losing streak. “I said, ‘Hey, start swinging the bats.’ We’re not a team that sits there and we’re going to take, take, take. We’ll accept our walks, we’re pretty good at that, but we got to be aggressive, and be aggressive in the strike zone, stop chasing, hit balls in the strike zone.
“Sometimes we get up there and the first pitch, they throw the ball right down the middle and we’re taking it, and that’s not who we are. Tonight was way better.
“Tonight they came out and they swung the bats, and they swung at strikes, so it was good to see.
“So hopefully we’ll continue to do that, like I said, before this last four days, we’ve been swinging the bats well, today we swung the bats well, so let’s continue to do that tomorrow.”
Thomas, with the three homers, doubled his total on the season, and his 3 for 5, 4 RBI night paced the Nationals’ offense. He’s still hitting .211 on the year, but Thomas was, it seemed, locked in last night.
“He was very aggressive, which we like,” his manager said.
“He’s a fastball hitter, when he gets the ball in the zone, whether it’s a fastball, sliders, he hits the ball hard,” Martinez added, “... and tonight was a perfect example, he stayed on every ball and he swung the bat well.”
Even more impressive, it wasn’t just a matter of having one pitcher’s number. Thomas hit them off three separate pitchers.
“Like I said, when he gets on time, and he’s ready to hit the fastball, he hits the ball hard,” Martinez added. “And it’s tough to do. It’s tough to get three different pitchers, and hit the ball like he did, but he had a great night. Needless to say, he’ll be batting 2nd tomorrow. He deserves it. But I told him, I said, “Take your first at-bat and just try to hit the ball hard again, don’t try to do too much, but that was awesome for him.”