Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Young Players Deliver, but Tanner Roark Can’t Close

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Jul 10, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Tyler Moore (12) hits an RBI double during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Baltimore Orioles defeated Washington Nationals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Role Players Come Through Offensively

Saying that the Nationals have been hit by the injury bug this season would be the understatement of the century. Almost half of their lineup on Friday were filling in for starters who were on the disabled list. That doesn’t include the fact that Escobar was playing with a hobbled hamstring that clearly affected his lateral agility in the field, as well as his ability to run the bases.

But, as mentioned before, the Nationals can’t accept excuses. They must find a way to win with the players that are on the field.

It looked like they were going to be able to do just that on Friday. On a night when Bryce Harper, the early favorite for NL MVP, was having trouble making contact, and Danny Espinosa, in the midst of a career-best season, finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, the bottom half of the order found a way to pick the team up.

Tyler Moore and Michael Taylor, hitting out of the eighth and ninth spots respectively, accounted for both of Washington’s runs on Friday. They delivered clutch hits that put the Nationals on top 2-1 in the fifth inning, which might have been enough to win the game had it not been for the disastrous performance of the bullpen (more on that shortly).

Taylor finished the game 2-for-4, raising his average on the season to .241 after his May slump took him all the way down to .214. Williams has kept him toward the back of the order, and that seems to be benefiting the young center fielder immensely. Clint Robinson has also played well during his fill-in duty. If Tyler Moore could start to put some good at-bats together, it would mean a lot for this group of young players who are getting major playing time, and even more for the Nats inconsistent offense.

Next: The Bad: Bullpen Blows Gio's Strong Start