Earlier this week on Twitter, I mentioned that Russell Martin hasn’t done squat since the start his red-hot April. Well, he has shut me up over the past few days.
On the heels of driving in two runs on Wednesday and hitting a solo homer on Thursday, Martin went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBI in last night’s 8-1 win over the Twins.
After hitting just .201/.309/.287 with four homers, six doubles and a .596 OPS over 59 games from May through July, Martin is batting .269/.291/.596 with five homers, four doubles and an .887 OPS this month.
The reason for the recent offensive surge? Martin tells Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he feels fresh.
“I feel like it’s April right now,” he said. “Seriously. The way Joe’s been giving me rest, I’ve never had a year like this where I’ve been fully rested like I am now. I’ve got to give it up to him, because I’m not going to take days off. They’re going to have to give it to me.”
Long known as being one of the most durable catchers in the majors, Martin appeared in at least 143 games per season from 2007-2009 as a member of the Dodgers. He has managed to stay healthy this season while appearing in just 96 games. And with the Yankees a near-lock to make the playoffs, he should get plenty of rest down the stretch.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.