Last night, Reno defeated Fresno 7-5 ,but shortstop Carter Kieboom and third baseman Jake Noll each contributed on their first Triple-A base hits. Kieboom connected on a double and Noll an RBI single.
Juan Soto said he has known Noll for quite some time because they came up to the big leagues together. Noll was optioned to Fresno when the Nationals reinstated Howie Kendrick from the injured list Thursday morning.
“I feel very happy for him because we played together in the minor leagues,” Soto said Wednesday night. “We started the same year and everything, rookie ball and we played in low-A, high-A and I see this guy, it’s amazing how he swing the bat and how he (is able) to hit the ball hard.”
First baseman Brandon Snyder also went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. Right-hander Scott Copeland allowed one earned run over five innings.
* The day off in New York, plus no work in Thursday’s series opener, will hopefully calm Trevor Rosenthal down. He has yet to record an out in seven matchups to begin the season. The puzzling part is Rosenthal is clocked in at 99- 100 mph with his fastball,
“I’ve looked at everything and talked to people,” Rosenthal said after the final game against the Phillies in which he walked two batters. “Mechanically, my stuff is fine. It’s just, I think, building some confidence and continuing to get game reps. That’s going to continue to help me get in the groove. Once I get there, I’ll be in a good spot.
Manager Davey Martinez has told Rosenthal it’s pretty simple what he needs to work on.
“Throw strikes. We told him, walks for him are his enemy,” Martinez said. “We’re trying to get him to throw strikes. He throws the ball great on flat ground, he throws the ball great in the bullpen, cause I talk to Henry (Blanco, Nats bullpen coach), and I think he just comes out overamped, so he starts yanking all the balls. We just gotta get him to settle down a little bit. He’s a big part of our bullpen, and we need him. We really need him.”
Martinez was asked Wednesday if the Nats need to bring Rosenthal in to the game in low-leverage situation to get his confidence back up.
“Yeah, we’re gonna address that,” Martinez said. “We really are. We haven’t decided yet what we’re going to do with him, but I think it’ll be safe to say that maybe, you know, we use him earlier in the game and get him to relax a little bit. But we’ll see. I told him (Wednesday), ‘You’re a big part of our bullpen and you’re going to help us win a lot of games, so keep your head up. You’re going to be right back out there soon, so keep your head up.’ “
* Victor Robles demonstrated his ability to hit the longball again with a line drive homer in the Nats’ 4-0 win in the series lid-lifter over the Mets. Hitting the ball and getting on base has not been the problem for the young star. But Robles has made some untimely mistakes on pickoffs and getting caught off base early in the season that Martinez said he will address.
“I think it’s guys trying to do too much. I really do,” Martinez said after the Phillies series. “You get a young kid like Robles that, he can fly, and he knows that. He gets on the bases and he just wants to go, go, go. They gotta understand that players are smart here. They know that he wants to run. They know that he wants to take extra bases.”
* Wilmer Difo laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt to score Soto in the opener against the Mets. Martinez wanted Difo to show that he could do that after failing to lay down a bunt against the Phillies.
“We’re gonna get better at it,” Martinez said Wednesday. “We have to get better at it in order to compete every day. When a team beats you because they’re better, I get it. But beating ourselves, it’s not gonna happen.”