Washington Nationals Rapid Reactions: Tanner Roark And Danny Espinosa Help Snap Losing Streak

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Jun 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (8) forces out Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) during the eighth inning at Nationals Park. The Chicago Cubs won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Bottom Of The Order Scores The Bulk Of The Runs

As was evident in the month of May, the Nationals are a great offensive team when everyone is contributing in some way, shape, or form. Tonight, it was mostly about the bottom of the order as they were the ones that got the team out of their run scoring woes.

Against Tsuyoshi Wada, a starter that the Nats saw on May 25, Washington did a much better job of hitting the ball hard early and often. In the second inning, the Nationals found a way to get on the board first, which was big.

Wilson Ramos led off with a single and then Ian Desmond doubled down the left field line. That set the stage for the right-handed Espinosa, who crushed a 89 mph fastball over the bullpen in left.

The runs from the bottom of the order didn’t stop there. After Espinosa’s ground-rule double in the fourth, which got stuck in the bottom of the left field wall, Michael Taylor got the job done by driving in Desmond with a sacrifice fly to right.

When the Cubs cut the lead to 5-4 in the sixth, Washington needed to tack on insurance runs and they got it done. Whether it was Wilson Ramos’ two-out double in the seventh or Dan Uggla’s pinch-hit double in the eight, the bottom five hitters in the lineup got the job done. The combination of Ramos, Desmond, Espinosa, Taylor, Roark, and Uggla went 8-for-17 and drove in six runs. Espinosa was the star of the night, going 2-for-4 with three RBI’s

However, let’s focus on Dan Uggla for a second. One of the weaknesses of this Nationals team has been their bench, so it was big for Uggla to get that seventh run on the board. As a team, the Nats now have 12 hits by a pinch-hitter and seven RBI’s. Last night, Uggla had his first RBI of the season in that role.

Even though Espinosa might not see regular playing time going forward, he can still be a valuable asset to the Nationals off the bench. Plus, you have to give him credit for making a good tag on Kris Bryant in the top of the fourth inning. The Nats second baseman dove to the bag to make the play, which was started by a great throw from Taylor.

The offense was able to click last night with eight of the nine starters recording a hit, but it will be interesting to see if the team can keep that success going against a starter in Jason Hammel, who is 8-0 against them in his career. If that’s going to happen, they need to be better than the 3-for-10 that they were last night with runners in scoring position.

Next: Bullpen Showing Signs Of Improvement

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