April 1, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Cristian Pache can hit Major League pitching. I saw it with my own eyes last October in Arlington against the Dodgers.
The batting average totals were not great in those 22 at-bats. He hit .182, with a homer and four RBI. It was how he looked in those at-bats that encouraged me.
His RBI double in Game Two of the NLCS showed me that he’s not afraid of a tough moment at the plate. The home run in the blow out loss in Game Three came at a rather inconsequential time in the game. But, it was the fact that he turned on a pitch to put it inside the left field foul pole that was impressive. Players who cannot hit at this level do not do that.
Pache had his struggles in spring training. He wasn’t alone in that department. He’ll likely have a tough adjustment to make at this level of play. But you know what? I’m cool with that.
I know what you get by having Ender Inciarte as an every day player in this lineup. I’m good without that. Nick Markakis was a valuable player for this team and has called it a career. I’m willing to let Pache build up credibility.
We’ve heard so long about the great talent this team has down in it’s minor league farm system. Let’s start trusting that talent and allowing them to grow at this level. Pache fits that bill.
Do I need Pache to be an All-Star at the plate? No, I don’t need that out of him. He’s got great speed and defensive skills. A capable bat from him is only a stronger addition to this lineup.
The truth is, not having the universal DH hurts this lineup a little more than having it in 2020. I just don’t get this perceived distrust in Pache’s ability at the plate. I’m willing for him to earn that trust and will be rooting for him to become a bright spot this season for the Braves. Let’s hope he’s just part of a special season.
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