Davey Martinez and the Nationals made two shifts Friday.
The first was an off-field change: they decided to start playing again after joining the Philadelphia Phillies in a boycott on Thursday which postponed their game. Martinez said they want to be unified and play for Jackie Robinson Day.
The second is on the field Friday: Juan Soto was moved to the second spot in the lineup and Adam Eaton was moved to sixth. Soto hit second in two prior games this season. However, those were games when Eaton was out of the lineup.
“I want to get some kind of production somewhere towards the middle/back end of our lineup,” Martinez said. “Adam’s actually swinging the bat well. So I want to get him back there to get a second rejuvenation of our lineup. Hopefully, he can get on, hopefully he can drive in some runs for us. That’s all. Get Juan up in the two-hole. Get him an extra at-bat. He’s swinging the bat well.”
Soto is three plate appearances short of qualifying for the league leaderboard. If he did, he would lead Major League Baseball in OPS. So, to Martinez’s simple point, he is indeed swinging the bat well.
Eaton not so much. He’s been better lately -- hitting .286 in the last five games -- but his OPS for the season remains a paltry .686. He is also a meager 2-for-25 (.080) this season against left-handed pitchers. Left-handed Martin Perez starts for the Red Sox on Friday.
Here’s the lineup:
Trea Turner, SS Juan Soto, DH Howie Kendrick, 1B Asdrúbal Cabrera, 3B Kurt Suzuki, C Adam Eaton, RF Josh Harrison, 2B Michael A. Taylor, LF Victor Robles, CF
Max Scherzer, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday, will pitch Friday night. Aníbal Sánchez pitches Saturday. Austin Voth is scheduled for Sunday.
The Nationals are 11-17 and in last place in the National League East.