Four games in the scheme of a baseball season is nothing, and Jayson Werth would not let four games sway his feeling toward his swing. Even as strikeouts mounted and his average sounded like a Bingo cal — “OH, 71! .071!” — Werth insisted he felt good at the plate.
“I felt like I’ve been swinging the bat pretty good since the middle of January, really,” Werth said. “But I haven’t had a whole lot to show for it.”
Now, after just one night, he does. Werth entered Tuesday’s 6-2 Nationals win 1 for 14 with seven strikeouts. Then Werth went 4 for 5 with a double and two RBI, his first four-hit game since June 27, 2009. Werth, obviously, had not produced a four-hit game with the Nationals. Only twice last year did he have a game with three hits and multiple RBI.
Before the game, Manager Davey Johnson approached Werth and told him, “Just be yourself.” Werth has repeated all spring his belief that increased comfort in Washington will help make his disappointing first season a memory.
But, no matter how Werth felt at the plate, would a horrid start chip away at that comfort? Tuesday night made it more likely he won’t have to answer that question.
“This game is a lot mental,” Johnson said. “If you get a few hits in a ballgame, you start feeling better about yourself. We had a little talk before the game. He was in a good frame of mind.”
Afterward, Werth said he had focused on “being more relaxed up there. Looking back, that’s something I’ve done in the past. Hopefully, I can continue to do that.”
Werth had not allowed the initial, dismal results to shake his confidence. One day in Chicago, Werth and Mark DeRosa stood together on the field before a game and laughed at their .000 averages. Late Monday night, he was watching film with bench coach Randy Knorr.
“He said that someone told him one time the first 100 at-bats of the season are to get comfortable, and everything else happens from there,” Werth said. “That’s really true. You get in the first half of the season, and those first 100 A-Bs, they happen in the blink of an eye. I think it is important, just to get comfortable, really, to start the season off.”
Werth has been hitting the ball with more authority early in the year. He blasted a triple to the right-center fence Monday night, and Tuesday he smoked a double to left. And now he has something to show for it.
FROM THE POST
Ross Detwiler arrived in a 6-2 Nationals win, throwing five scoreless, two-hit innings in his first start as part of the Nationals’ opening day rotation.
FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse was suspended after four innings. Bryce Harper had gone 0 for 2.
Harrisburg 7, New Britain 2: Eury Perez went 2 for 5. Jeff Kobernus went 3 for 5 with a double and is hitting .444. Sandy Leon went 3 for 4. Robert Gilliam, the right-hander the Nats got from Oakland as a throw-in to the Gio Gonzalez trade, allowed two runs in seven innings on seven hits and no walks, striking out five.
Potomac 6, Myrtle Beach 4: Michael Taylor went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. David Freitas went 3 for 5 with a double.
Hagerstown 16, Lexington 8: Jason Martinson went 3 for 3 with two home runs, a double and two walks. Adrian Nieto went 3 for 5 with a homer and a double. J.P. Ramirez went 4 for 5.