Martinez moves Eaton to leadoff spot to try to energize lineup

In an effort to jump-start an offense that has not scored a run in two games, Nationals manager Davey Martinez has moved right fielder Adam Eaton into the leadoff spot for today's series finale in Philadelphia.

Martinez hopes that this will create more opportunities for his two hottest hitters, Trea Turner and Juan Soto, to drive in runs.

"I talked to him last night," Martinez said during today's pregame Zoom video call. "I wanted to see if we could get somebody up there, get something going here, get some runs. I know Trea and Juan have been carrying us for a while. Just trying to mix it up a little bit. He's done it before. Just told him to be that little, pesky hitter and try to get on base for the rest of our lineup.

"He said he was all for it. Here's a guy that has done it before. He knows how to get on base. When he is good, he can work eight- to 10-pitch at-bats. I said, 'Just go out there and be you and have fun and get on there. Hopefully, those other guys will knock you in.' "

eaton-adam-base-hit-gray-sidebar.jpgEaton struggled out of the gates this season and Martinez could tell that his right fielder shoulders a lot of the blame for not being able to create offense in his at-bats. The skipper decided to move Eaton to the five-hole to open the series in Boston on Friday. His current batting average is .224, almost 60 points lower than his career average of .283.

Eaton had a pair of doubles on Monday at Citizens Bank Park, but has gone hitless in the past two games. So the skipper sat down the veteran during post game of last night's 3-0 loss to the Phillies and talked. Talked baseball, talked family, talked the shutdown. Martinez has always said his door is open for his players.

"I spent an hour with him last night after the game, just chatting about different stuff," Martinez said. "We watched some video and stuff. He seems like he is in a good place. But he takes every at-bat to heart and he wants to do well for his teammates, that's just who he is. I told him, 'Hey, just relax, have fun.' "

Eaton had mentioned that he was not getting the usual spark of adrenaline manning right field as he was accustomed to in seasons past because stadiums are empty. Martinez understands this predicament is a tough one to get used to, but also acknowledges that it is an issue every baseball team must endure during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are definitely in a different situation this year, but so is everybody else," Martinez said. "We got to find a way to get yourself motivated and go out there and do the best you can. It's different, but it's different for everybody. Every team is going through some kind of adversity. Go out there and play the game. When the game today starts at 4 p.m., I expect these guys go out there and do the best they can to play the game. That's what they are good at."

And the best part of Martinez sharing the realization that these are trying times and that his team is underperforming this season is his philosophy that every day is a new day.

"I think about this all the time," Martinez said. "I never have any bad days. Some days are obviously better than others. I try to tell the players, 'Hey, focus on the here and now. Not one of you guys is going to carry us. Everybody has got to do their part. Just do the best you can every day.' That's all I ask them to do.

"I tell them play hard. For the most part, they do play hard and they wear their emotions ... on their sleeves. We just kind of got to take it one step at a time. You are not going to win 10 games in one day. Just focus on today."

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