Jun 16, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Michael Taylor (3) is congratulated by second baseman Anthony Rendon (6) after he scored during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nats Start Six Run Inning With Small Ball
While the Nationals have hit 71 home runs as a team this season (tied for third in the NL), but they did something last night that they have not done much of in the month of June. That was the ability to piece together hits and turn a good inning into a great inning.
That inning occurred in the top of the second when the Nationals put six runs on the board. After Robinson’s mammoth home run, the Nats went with a little small ball. Danny Espinosa and Michael Taylor had back-to-back bunt singles and kept the line moving. They were aggressive plays, but the Nats played it to perfection.
As the inning continued, Denard Span and Anthony Rendon drew back-to-back walks against Alex Colome to make it 2-0. Yunel Escobar would double the score with a two-run single. Then, after a Harper walk, it was Wilson Ramos’ turn to play small ball as his sacrifice fly to right made it 5-0.
In fact, the only two extra base hits in that inning were from Clint Robinson. Those were his home run to begin the inning and his double that ended it. While the Nationals did have four home runs in this game, those homers only accounted for five of the runs. Wilson Ramos had two home runs against two position players in the last two innings and Bryce Harper had a 443 foot home run to right center in the fifth that went over the ray tank for his 22nd home run of the season (tying a career high)
While it is great to see a team hit home runs, those aren’t always going to be there. The way the Nats offense can get back to consistency is to string together hits and drive in runners in scoring position. Last night, they did both of those things as they went 7-for-17 in those situations.