Washington Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s series opener with the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field

Nelson Cruz’s 1 for 4 sport within the Washington Nationals’ loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday left him 13 for 84 (.155/.253/.226) with two homers, 11 walks, and 17 Ks in 22 video games and 96 plate appearances on the season.

Cruz, 41, signed a 1-year/$15M deal early this spring, with the Nats hoping the addition of a giant bat to the center of the order together with Juan Soto and Josh Bell would assist enhance the membership’s offense, however to this point this season the 18-year veteran has struggled on the plate.

Shortly after signing, Cruz mentioned what it will be prefer to face a brand new group of pitchers often after spending nearly all of his profession within the American League.

“Positively, I feel that’s the most important problem, you understand, dealing with new pitches that principally perhaps I’ve seen as soon as in my profession, I’ve to belief the scouting studies and watch video, that’s what my preparation seems to be like each day, earlier than I am going to mattress, after I present as much as the stadium, I wish to have a fairly good thought what to anticipate from pitchers, and I’ll determine it out,” he stated.

Is that taking part in a task in his sluggish begin?

Cruz’s supervisor, Davey Martinez switched issues up together with his lineup lately, hoping it would spark the DH in D.C.

Martinez flipped Cruz and Josh Bell who’d been hitting third and 4th, respectively, early this 12 months, hoping to create extra RBI alternatives for the designated hitter.

“I simply needed to do one thing totally different,” he defined, “… however I needed to see — [Cruz] is so used to driving in runs, I needed to see if we may get anyone else on for him, make him really feel just a little bit like he’s going to drive in some runs, however that’s all a bit — I do know Josh is swinging the bat nicely, [Yadiel Hernández] is swinging the bat nicely, so we’re form of attempting to place [Cruz] within the center.”

Cruz went 0 for six with two walks and a Ok in two video games because the cleanup hitter.

“He hit one ball laborious immediately,” Martinez stated on Day 1 of his experiment.

“I nonetheless suppose as soon as he will get in a groove, he’s going to gentle up and catch fireplace,” the supervisor added.

“He’s one other one which I feel he’s obtained to get the ball up just a little bit, get extra pitches within the strike zone, and he’s fouling off good pitches that he ought to hit, and he is aware of that, however I do know he’s a superb hitter and he’s going to start out hitting.”

“I put Josh within the three-hole, truthfully strictly for [Cruz],” Martinez defined earlier than he put Cruz within the cleanup spot for the second time.

“Josh has been taking his walks, he’s been getting on base,” the supervisor added, “… and he was hitting over .300 — to see if he may get extra guys on base for Nellie, as a result of Nellie is so used to hitting driving in runs, see if we will get him going, by simply placing extra guys up on base for him.”

Whereas the remainder of Washington’s lineup piled up hits, with 22 whole and 14 runs scored of their collection opening 14-4 win in San Francisco, Cruz went 0 for five with a stroll, and adopted up a day later by going 1 for 4 within the Nationals’ 9-3 loss on Saturday.

“He’s nonetheless chasing balls outdoors the zone,” Martinez stated when requested to diagnose Cruz’s early season struggles.

“A few of these balls, I assumed have been borderline. He must — and I do know what sort of hitter he’s — when he’s going good he can take a first-pitch fastball or breaking ball and smash it, so I’m by no means going to remove his aggressiveness, as a result of he is aware of what he’s doing, however identical to yesterday he had some good swings, however they weren’t within the strike zone, so I need him to take heed to that, hey, prepare, get a superb pitch to hit and let it go.”

Cruz went 0 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI within the collection finale in San Francisco, reaching on a two-on, no-out chopper to 3rd the Giants’ defender whiffed on. It was initially dominated successful earlier than the official scorer modified it to an error.

Will a go to to Coors Discipline, the place he’s 8 for 19 (.421/.542./790 with a double and two house runs in seven video games) assist the slugger get going?

Cruz is the cleanup hitter for the Nationals tonight..