Davey Martinez’s club tries to avoid a third straight loss overall when they take on the Marlins tonight in Miami.
Roster Moves – Position Players:
Before Sunday afternoon’s game, the Washington Nationals made a series of roster moves, bringing Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin back up to the majors, designating Javy Guerra for assignment, and optioning Andrew Stevenson to Triple-A Rochester. Following the loss to Milwaukee in the finale with the Brewers, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez was asked why, in the midst of a roster reboot that has the club going with something of a youth movement, they would option Stevenson out while keeping a veteran like Gerardo Parra in the big leagues?
“We all know what Parra brings to the clubhouse,” Martinez explained. “He’s a veteran guy who can help the young guys, but also too, a big part of that is to get Stevenson down and get a bunch of at bats. Let him play every day. He’s been sitting, I’ve been putting some other guys out there to play.
“[Lane Thomas] is playing, [Victor Robles] is playing, [Yadiel Hernández] is playing left field and doing well, so I just want [Stevenson] to go down, get a tons of at bats, play everywhere in the outfield, and then when he gets the call up again he’ll be ready to go again.”
Positives from Sunday’s Loss:
If you’re looking for positives from the Nationals’ loss in the third of three with the Brewers, you can point to the play of Carter Kieboom and Lane Thomas.
Kieboom, 23, was 0 for 3 on the day, then he made a diving play as part of an unassisted double play that helped Nationals’ righty Austin Voth out of a jam in the eighth, before he homered in the top of the ninth, connecting on his 4th HR on the mound (and the season).
So far in August, the 2016 1st Round pick is now 19 for 67 (.284/.372/.493) with two doubles, the four home runs, nine walks, and 19 Ks in 78 plate appearances.
“He’s doing well you know,” Martinez said after the game. “I talked to him before that last at bat and told him, ‘Hey, be more aggressive, you’re starting to hit again with two strikes, get aggressive early.’ And he went out there and got a good pitch to hit and smoked it. And his defense is getting better, we talk a lot about — he’s another guy that’s really working hard on getting set up early, moving his feet, keeping his feet moving, and getting his hand up so he can make better throws, and he’s done that, so he’s getting better.”
It’s a small sample size, from a player who came out of the gate strong with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019 when he made his MLB debut, but struggled over the last two seasons before he was dealt to Washington in return for Jon Lester at the trade deadline late last month, but in six games and 20 PAs so far, Thomas is 9 for 15 (.600/.700/.867) with two doubles, a triple, and five walks (to one K). So what did the Nationals see in the outfielder while he was struggling with the Cards that made them think he could contribute to their roster?
“One, we liked his speed, we liked the way he could put the ball in play, especially against lefties,” Martinez said. “I said he’s been really good against left-handed pitchers, but also you see him now getting a chance to play against righties, and he’s just putting the ball in play.
“I told him, ‘Hey, I don’t want you to do too much, you’re a gap-to-gap hitter, accept your walks, take your walks, and you’ll be fine, and he’s done that.”
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR THE OPENER WITH THE MARLINS:
Carter Kieboom has been gr8 in August.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 24, 2021
NOTES: Before tonight’s game, the Nationals also announced a series of roster moves to add a couple arms to their bullpen:
— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 24, 2021