Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez has started his tenure under fire. But, under the circumstances, he is holding his own.
From the inevitable comparisons with Dusty Baker to the team’s slow start, Martinez grabs his share of criticism from anxious fans and a few in the press. Although it comes with the territory—there is the old baseball adage that the day a new manager is hired, so does the countdown to his firing—the arrows flung at Martinez are harsh.
We knew about Daniel Murphy’s injury last fall. However, Adam Eaton’s slow recovery and re-injured ankle is a surprise. Anthony Rendon needed a toe nail drilled after fouling a ball off his foot. And, Brian Goodwin found the disabled list.
You can never predict injuries, just do your best to work around them. When Baker was deluged last year, Washington held a comfortable divisional lead with no one capable of catching the Nats.
This year, the story is different. The dreaded bug hit early and improved clubs in New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia have DC under .500 and in a fight for the first time in years. Although there is never a good time for injuries, this is not it.
Not that Martinez is perfect. The growing pains are real and mistakes have cost a game or two. He wanted baptism by fire, but we are in masochistic territory the first eighth of the season. As with any new relationship, things turn complex early.
Here is a closer work on what works, what he must lean and the future for Martinez and the 2018 Nats.