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Washington Nationals’ lineup for 1st of 3 with the Miami Marlins

Washington and Miami start a three-game set in loanDepot park at 6:40 PM ET tonight.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Davey Martinez had an interesting answer when he was asked in mid-May what he thought was behind Maikel Franco’s success at the plate this season, with the 29-year-old slugger’s numbers up where they were when he put up solid stats for the Philadelphia Phillies when he was at his best with his former team.

“I think, honestly, I think [the difference] for him is that we’re showing him a lot of love, we really are,” Martinez said. “We felt like he had the potential to bounce back and be the guy that he once was, and he’s not an old guy neither,” the manager continued. “He’s fairly — for me, still — like I tell him, ‘You’re still in your prime, you know, you haven’t really hit your — ‘ but we taught him some things that we felt like could help him and he’s taken advantage of it, and he’s preparing himself and he’s going out there and putting some good at-bats together.”

Since mid-May, Franco has put up a .293/.312/.387 line with four doubles and a home run in 19 games and 77 plate appearances for the Nats, and he wrapped up their four-game set in Cincinnati in the midst of a seven-game hit streak over which he’s 11 for 29 (.393/.414/.500).

Franco went 1 for 4 with a home run in the 5-4 win on Sunday to extend the hit streak, with his fourth home run overall this season.

“He’s staying on the ball,” Martinez told reporters in Great American Ball Park, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco after the game. “We talked a lot about him just using the whole field and trying to stay up the middle of the field. He’s doing that. And when he does that, he hits the ball hard.”

Will Franco extend his hit streak? Will the Nationals win four in a row for the first time in ‘22 tonight?