Acquired to be a mainstay at the top of the Nationals' order for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Ben Revere's career in Washington has so far not gone as planned and even he will tell you that.
He suffered his first ever oblique injury on Opening Day in his first ever game with the Nats. And now, in the two months he's been back, his batting average has hovered above and below the .200 mark. Trea Turner is now getting a crash course in center field at Triple-A, as the Nats evidently see Revere's spot as an area they could maybe use an upgrade if his troubles continue.
It has hurt Revere deep down to struggle like he has, knowing what he's capable of as seven-year veteran and .300 hitter the last three years. He's taken solace in the fact he used to play for the Phillies, so most of his new teammates know him well as a former division foe. He's done his best to remain positive. Still, as Dusty Baker has said, there are only so many times people can say 'hang in there' and pat him on the back.
There was plenty of buildup to make Revere's walkoff hit and the jubilation that followed on Friday night a visceral moment, not only for him but his teammates and coaches who have witnessed his plight. This was a moment Revere and many others had been waiting before.
It started with his RBI double off the right-center field wall to beat the Reds, and it culminated with Max Scherzer lifting him over his shoulder and carrying him into right field. His teammates followed and took turns slapping him on the rear.
"I haven’t hit a walk-off in the big leagues. I didn’t know what was going to happen," Revere said. "I could probably see [that] happening, someone picking me up like a little child."
"I feel great for him. he's been swinging the bat better, when Ben goes the offense goes," Danny Espinosa, who scored the winning run, said.
Revere has always been good at making contact and that hasn't changed this season. Though he's batting just .225, most of his outs have been on balls put in play.
That, he says, adds to the frustration of his season so far. On Friday night, though, he felt okay to joke about it.
"Baseball sucks. It absolutely sucks," he said with a grin. "You ask Jayson Werth, he’s been in the game 100 years, and he says, ‘It sucks.’ But it really does. It’s frustrating. I’ve had games where I hit four missiles or four hard-hit balls right at people."
After his teammates calmed down and Revere returned to the dugout, Baker found him for a quick embrace. Revere said he could tell the skipper was trying to get out of there quickly after a 14-inning game that took four hours and 30 minutes to complete.
Baker, though, then met the media and shared his happiness for Revere.
"It means a lot because you don't feel that you're contributing. Tonight was Ben's night. He contributed big-time. When you get a game-winning, walkoff hit like he did, I mean that's huge for your confidence and for everybody else's confidence."