Ildemaro Vargas went 1 for 3 with a go-ahead home run in Sunday’s 3-2 win in Nationals Park, lifting Washington over Cincinnati’s Reds in the finale of the three-game series in D.C.
Vargas, 31, finished the game 22 for 69 (.319/.368/.493) with three doubles, three home runs, four walks, and eight Ks in 21 games and 76 plate appearances since he joined the Nats on August 3rd, three months after he was released by Chicago’s Cubs, signed by the Nationals, and sent to Triple-A Rochester.
Vargas’s new manager, Davey Martinez, was asked if he was surprised by the power he’s seen from his new infielder in his first few weeks with the club.
“You know what’s funny about that, I looked back, and looked at some of his homers, and in winter ball he’s hit like 14 or 15 homers, so it’s in there,” Martinez said.
Vargas hit six home runs in 92 games and 211 plate appearances for Arizona back in 2019, and as Martinez noted, he’d hit double digits in the minors and winter league seasons before, but the run he’s been on since joining the Nationals has been one of the best he’s had in the big leagues.
“Now it’s just a matter of — the biggest thing for me with him, is chasing,” the fifth-year skipper said. “He’s chasing less. He’s able to get the ball in the strike zone, and it’s helping him make good contact, and like I said, that’s something that [Hitting Coach] Darnell [Coles] and Six [Assistant Hitting Coach Pat Roessler] have been working [on] with him.
“He’s got a good glove. As we all know. He can pick it. If he starts hitting like that he’s valuable to us.”
Vargas is back in there for tonight’s series opener with the A’s (weather permitting).