With two on and two out in the bottom of the third Friday night, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters drilled a ball to deep center field. Roger Bernadina ranged back toward the warning track and then made a significant miscalculation. He thought he was right near the wall, so he prepared to jump.
But when Bernadina leaned back he felt nothing and he began to fall. The ball bounced off the top of his glove, and Wieters ended up with a two-RBI double. Baltimore scored three runs in all before the inning ended.
Bernadina’s miscue mattered little by the end of the night. Washington won, 17-5, and Bernadina made up for his gaffe in the field with a two-run home run in the fifth. Still, Bernadina acknowledged Saturday, he knows better than to make the fielding mistake he did Friday.
“I feel like that can happen,” Bernadina said. “It’s a big fault on me, not knowing where the fence is, but I’ll make sure that it don’t happen again.”
As for his home run in the fifth, Bernadina said he had no idea the ball had bounced off an outfielder’s glove before heading over the wall. It was a home run, his first of the season. That’s all that mattered to him.
“The guy in front of me kept running and then he slowed down so I realized it was a home run,” Bernadina said.
Since being recalled from the minors on May 7, Bernadina has settled into the leadoff spot in the Nationals order. He is hitting .280/.357/.380 on the season with two doubles a home run and five RBI.
But he also has tallied 11 strikeouts – including three Friday night – to just six walks.
Bernadina said he’s been working with Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein on his pitch selection, particularly on when to lay off of off-speed and inside pitches.
“I still feel like I can get in a better groove, but it’s just a matter of time,” Bernadina said. “Sometimes I get out of my zone and I get myself out. I’ve just got to be a little more patient and stuff like that.”
As for where he is slotted in the batting order, Bernadina said it doesn’t make much difference to him.
“For now, it’s okay,” Bernadina said of batting in the leadoff spot. “I just do whatever I can to help the ball club. It’s a position that I played before in the big leagues my first year. … I can hit eighth or seventh. I don’t really have a position. Right now, whatever it is, it’s good.”