Washington Nationals Reaction: Nats Rally For Opening Day Victory
By Ricky Keeler
Aggressive Style Of Play Pays Off In 9th Inning
All spring training long, one of the things that stood out about the Nats was their aggressive baserunning. While they only stole one base yesterday, which was Bryce Harper’s in the eighth, there were some examples of aggressive baserunning that worked and some that didn’t.
In the first inning, Julio Teheran picked off Anthony Rendon. Teheran deserves a lot of credit for being able to use his quick throw to first base to neutralize the Nats’ movement on the bases. However, Harper was able to still get the Nats on the board in that inning with the home run.
Then, if you fast forward to the top of the ninth, the Nats had two on and nobody out with Danny Espinosa at the plate. Espinosa couldn’t get the first two bunt attempts down, but he still bunted with two strikes and got the job done.
Two batters later, on the Michael Taylor sacrifice fly, Jayson Werth decided to break for home even though the ball wasn’t hit that deep. In the end, the move paid off because Werth was able to slide in safely as the throw got away from A.J. Pierzynski. It was a good decision by Henley because if the Nats were going to lose that game, it should be because the Braves made the play.
When you look at the outcome of this game, the Braves were sloppy in the field with the two errors and the Nationals made them pay for one in the tenth on the bad throw by Gordon Beckham on the Ryan Zimmerman groundball. Some of the aggressive moves are not going to work out successfully this season, but by forcing the issue, it made the defense make the mistake.
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