With each game, there is a pre-game and post-game presser with manager Dave Martinez. We learned yesterday that Martinez had a lesson for his starter Jefry Rodriguez. The Nationals manager wanted “…to see [Jefry Rodriguez] go through those struggles because if he’s going to pitch here, he’s got to do that. It’s the bottom of the order.” At what point do you end a lesson? The 25-year-old pitcher had never thrown beyond 97-pitches. Pitch #95 was a 3-run home run, pitch #96 was a single, and the next 4 pitches ended in the culmination of a 4-pitch walk on pitch #100. At that point, stating it was the “bottom of the order” trivialized the situation which really did not matter when a pitcher is on fumes.
We speak all the time that an integral part of a manager’s job is to put their players in their best situation to succeed for themselves and the team. Yes, it’s a team game and often times a lesson for one — fails the rest because this is a team game. Sometimes failing is part of the lesson, but was there really anything to learn by pushing JRod through all of that? The team energy was zapped once again and another impassioned comeback was wasted. Did the 19-year-old Juan Soto learn anything when he saw his efforts go wasted on the final outcome of the game which ended in another of these preventable losses?
What about a lesson for Anthony Rendon who started that game? What message does that send to the players who saw Rendon basically slo-mo jog after a ball the night before on this play which allowed a run to score on starter Stephen Strasburg. There was no benching when weeks before Trea Turner was made an example of and rightfully was criticized by Martinez and benched.
Lessons should be consistent. Ask the parent who punishes one child for an infraction, but does not punish another child for a similar infraction. It sends a mixed message, and this is part of the issue in Dave Martinez’s rookie season. He has had inconsistencies in his overall message in many facets.
For today, maybe the message that needs to be sent came from Jayson Werth during that disappointing 2013 season:
“We gotta show up [for the game] ready to eat somebody’s face.”
Today’s starter, Max Scherzer always is ready to eat somebody’s face. He will get to face a player who a couple of weeks ago was his teammate, and the match-up against Matt Adams will be interesting who is a career 3-for-9 against Max.
The Cardinals are starting righty Jack Flaherty who has been excellent this season and very stingy with giving up runs.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB.TV app out-of-network
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
- Adam Eaton RF
- Trea Turner SS
- Bryce Harper CF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Juan Soto LF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Wilmer Difo 2B
- Pedro Severino C
- Max Scherzer RHP