A combination of bad BABIP luck, some solid, (and some spectacular), defense by the Reds’ defenders, and a big top of the sixth for the visiting club, made the difference in Cincinnati taking a 6-2 win over the Washington Nationals last night in the nation’s capital.
Nats’ hitters combined for eight hits, went 1 for 4 with runners in scoring position and seven left on base, and got an early home run by Lane Thomas and a double by Luke Meneses and RBI single by Luke Voit late, but it was not enough in the second straight loss to the visiting Reds.
“We hit the ball a lot better than we did the last couple of days,” Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters in his post game press conference after the loss.
“When we lined out a few times, we hit the ball hard. I know we’re constantly trying to stay in the middle of the field. Once again, Joey hit the ball well. Luke hit the ball well. Lane, the home run. So, I mean that’s the kind of at-bats we got to do consistently, just hit the ball hard. You can’t control where they go. But hopefully these at-bats will come, some balls will drop, and we get a big home run, start scoring some runs.”
Martinez’s club has averaged 2.8 runs per game while going 3-7 over the last 10 games, and while the manager acknowledged frustration with well-struck balls not falling in for hits, the solid contact is the key, and he’ll take those outs over weak ground balls.
“You know what, I’d rather see that than the ground balls,” he explained. “I liked the at-bats today, so let’s continue to do that, and see if some of those balls drop tomorrow.”
The one big blast for the Nationals last night was the home run by Thomas, a 404-foot shot to left field in the second which tied things up after the Reds jumped out to a 1-0 lead. No. 13 of 2022 for Thomas was the 27-year-old outfielder’s 4th in August left him with a solid if not spectacular .274/.303/.464 line with four doubles, two walks, and 22 Ks in a total of 89 plate appearances on the month.
On the year, in his second season in D.C. after he was acquired from St. Louis last July 30th at the trade deadline, Thomas has a .241/.289/.405 line, with the 13 homers, 23 doubles, 23 walks, and 96 Ks in 112 games and 395 PAs.
“He’s done well,” Martinez said of the production from his outfielder this season, and since he came over from the Cardinals.
“You know, I sat back and looked at his numbers since we got him. In 150-something games that we’ve had him, he’s got over 20 home runs, drove in a bunch of runs, has a SLG of over like .460, so he’s really done well. He’s getting an opportunity to play, I tell him, I said, ‘Hey, as long as you show me you continue to do what you do, I love watching you play,’ and he’s done really well.”
He’s got 20 home runs on the nose, actually, and a .433 SLG in 162 games with the Nats, but the manager’s point stands, Thomas has produced when given steady playing time, and the outfielder figures to get plenty of at-bats down the stretch with the rebooting ballclub.
Thomas is back in there today for the series finale with the Reds...