Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Check out some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.
In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Bill Ladson discusses Danny Espinosa‘s return to switch-hitting in last night’s game against the Phillies. As Ladson notes, Espinosa abandoned switch-hitting during Spring Training and focused solely on hitting right-handed. Now, it looks like the infielder is returning to his switch-hitting ways.
Earlier this year I wrote about how batting solely right-handed could help turn Espinosa’s career around. But after seeing how much he struggled with the change during Spring Training, I think it’s good that the Nationals are giving Espinosa the option to hit from whatever side of the plate he’s comfortable.
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There’s no denying that Espinosa is a much better hitter from the right side, but as we saw this spring, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be a better hitter if he sticks to batting right-handed. It’ll be interesting to see how Espinosa handles his at-bats as the season rolls on.
Also in today’s Daily, Jim Meyerriecks of Federal Baseball discusses Matt Williams‘ decision to “stick to the script” with with Blake Trenen in the eighth inning last night. Of course, this is something we saw a lot of from Williams last season: sticking to a predetermined plan regardless of what the situation called for. But as Jim notes in his article, Williams had the luxury of Tyler Clippard as his eighth-inning man last season. He doesn’t have that this time around.
Williams is a great manager, and his NL Manager of the Year award last year was well earned. But if he wants to help lead this team to a championship, he’ll need to learn how to adapt as the game goes on. Baseball is a dynamic game that can change in a heartbeat. Formulas simply don’t work.
Espinosa collects hit in return to switch-hitting
PHILADELPHIA — It looks like Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa has decided to go back to switch-hitting. During Spring Training, Espinosa was batting right-handed exclusively because of a lack of success swinging from the left side.
Entering this season, Espinosa had a .271 batting average and a .343 on-base percentage hitting from the right side (against left-handers), as opposed to a .213 batting average and a .284 on-base percentage hitting from the left (against righties).
But in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Phillies, Espinosa came to the plate against right-hander Jeanmar Gomez and decided to hit left-handed for the first time this year. Before this season, Espinosa was known to strike out often from the left side. But Espinosa swung at a 2-2 pitch and doubled to right field. Read full article here.
Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams sticks to the script Saturday
It’s kind of frustrating that we’re not even a full week into the season and I already want to write the exact same article that I wrote on Thursday. In his first season as the Nats manager, Matt Williams was afforded the luxury of having one of the very best relievers in the game as his primary setup man. Those of you who saw me rant (often) in the postgame threads last season know that I’m not a big fan of assigning roles to relievers. It’s formulaic. It’s managing on autopilot rather than taking real game situations into account.
Still, it made some sense for Williams to lean on a guy who ranks 19th in WAR among relievers (closers and non-closers) over the past three seasons. Alas, the early indications are that Williams may end up looking like a deer in headlights without that “eighth inning guy” (no… that’s not a real position) to lean on. The Nats have a good and deep bullpen this season. It’s not as strong as the rotation, but everyone in the bullpen has their strengths that Williams should be able to make use of. Read full article here.