Davey Martinez, speaking about Lane Thomas’ success since moving up the Washington Nationals lineup late last month, reiterated his belief that starting or hitting anywhere else isn’t really a big deal as, ” once you get past the ask once, you just become a hitter,” but he acknowledged that it could be a comforting thing for the outfielder.
When a reporter brought up his experiment with Kyle Schwarber at the start of last season, and the streak that followed in June after Martinez made the move, the manager joked and asked if it was about moving Juan Soto up, but said when makes your lineup really about what works well from 1st to 9th.
“I try to see how things fit into our lineup,” he explained. “The big reason for me that Lane can open right now is honestly Luis [García]. Not having all those right-handed hitters in one group. Now Luis is batting eighth or ninth, so we’ve got a left-hander down there, so it’s easy for me to say, ‘Okay, Lane can hit first now and put Cesar second,’ and Cesar, it doesn’t matter where. he hits, he just likes to hit. He has done it before. He’s hit everywhere in a lineup and it doesn’t bother him one bit.”
The fact that Thomas has really done well since the move is a plus, Martinez said, but stressed that he didn’t want anything to change just because he was starting.
“When Lane is swinging the bat so well, and he’s done it before, he gets it,” the fifth-year skipper said. “The biggest thing for me is that I told Lane, ‘I don’t want you to start looking for rides. I just want you to go hit. Just hit, and if you accept your walk rate, but don’t start not swinging fastballs because you’re trying to walk and get on base. You’re going to get on base hitting, and if you walk, you walk. And he understands that, and having Cesar, who is a switch hitter behind him, balances out our lineup a lot. And I know Cesar can still get on base for Juan [Soto]Y [Nelson Cruz]Y [Josh] Bell.
“It worked. Like I said, when I sit down and start thinking about lineups every day, I try to figure out what’s the best fit for our entire lineup, 1-9.
“So, and right now it’s working. It’s good. He’s hitting the ball, he’s getting on base, he’s doing the things we need him to do.”
Thomas is back on top today as the Nats attempt a three-game sweep of DC