Atlanta, GA – The Washington Nationals faced the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park for the final time this season on Wednesday afternoon. Washington dropped the second game of the series, 3–2, on Tuesday night after Patrick Corbin exited due to injury with two outs in the first innings; the Nationals’ bullpen combined to allow three earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and one walk in 7.1 innings of relief.
Recent Washington Nationals breakout star Joey Meneses returned to Atlanta, where he originally signed a Minor League deal with the Braves in May 2011, three days before his 19th birthday. 11 years later, Meneses returned to Atlanta, but instead he was wearing a curly W and starting with a Major League Baseball team. The 30-year-old rookie was called up to the Nationals’ roster when Juan Soto and Josh Bell were traded to San Diego at the Trade Deadline on Aug. 2. Meneses has been shining so much that among Washington Nationals fans, he has become a fan favorite.
In the team’s last visit to Atlanta for the 2022 season, Meneses went 7-for-12 with a homer, a double, two walks, and two RBIs. Both of his walks were intentional and in crucial situations. It continued today; with the Nationals down and looking at another series sweep, the right-handed hitter blasted a 420-foot two-run homer with an exit velocity of 106.7 mph in his next at-bat, putting the Nationals ahead for good in the seventh and silencing Truist Park.
Entering this afternoon’s game, Joey Meneses was batting .328 with a .927 OPS and has reached 25 RBIs in just 43 games. Meneses has the highest batting average, OPS, and wRC+ of all rookies in the Majors. Could there be a Rookie of Year vote for the 30-year-old? Only Time will tell.
Even his manager Dave Martinez has noticed Meneses’s impact and enthusiasm: “It’s awesome… In a big moment like that, all of a sudden, they go pitch to you, and he comes through. … I love watching him play, I love watching him hit, and it was a big home run today.”
“[I’m] very satisfied,” Meneses said about his performance since being called up through interpreter Octavio Martinez. “I’ve been working my whole life to get to this point and have success at the big league level, and it’s very satisfying to finally get here and be able to do what I’ve been doing.”
In his post-game press conference, Dave Martinez talked about his impact on the Nationals: “All around, he’s been such a blessing for our club… They call him a rookie, but he’s a veteran at heart. He’s acting that way with some of our young guys.” “I can’t say enough about what Joey [Meneses] has been doing for us since he’s been here,” Martinez added after this afternoon’s win. “He’s been hitting balls [hard], doubles, homers, getting on base, playing good defense.”
With the Nationals avoiding the sweep at the hands of the Braves, the team heads to Miami on Thursday before opening a three-game series against the Marlins on Friday night and their last city on their last road trip for the 2022 season.