Washington Nationals: Dave Martinez passes early tests

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05: Manager Dave Martinez
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05: Manager Dave Martinez /
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washington nationals
washington nationals /


It is too early to pass judgment on Martinez’s abilities.

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The players love him. When he was ejected trying to protect Rendon in the first Mets series that was more passion than we saw from Baker last year.

Washington is not afraid of designating players for assignment when needed. All big changes from last year. But, with a record flirting with .500, Martinez faces a short honeymoon.

The return of Eaton, Rendon and Murphy will help. A game or two with a bigger lead late helps with bullpen loads. If Jeremy Hellickson can be the stable fifth starter, then the pen workload gets manageable. The key is staying within five games of first. Doable, for sure.

But, he must trust his entire pen. Not using Shawn Kelley against the Mets Wednesday might have cost them the game. They cannot let A.J. Cole sort out his issues while getting rocked. If Martinez warms relievers, he needs to use them. Pitchers lose effectiveness getting up-and-down.

Although Zimmerman proved Martinez right, he must recognize faster when the lineup needs adjusting.

Next: Nats road ahead

These lessons come with experience. When you consider Washington is missing three everyday players, Martinez is doing well. He will learn. Rookies make mistakes no matter the level.