The Davey Lopes Impact
When the Nationals brought in Lopes to be their new first base coach, we saw right away in spring training that this team was going to steal bases and be aggressive on the bases.
Last night, it started in the first inning when Michael Taylor stole second. Later in that inning, Taylor and Bryce Harper did a double steal with Harper just getting into second safely. This game Ryan Zimmerman the opportunity to drive in the run via Ethe sacrifice fly.
So far, this season, the Nats have six stolen bases, which is the most in the National League and the second most in baseball. Only the Houston Astros have more steals than the Nats (9-for-13).
One player who you are seeing that impact on is Harper. After stealing only six bases last season, the reigning NL MVP is 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts, including two last night. It’s a good strategy by Harper because if a team is going to put him on base, you might as well make them pay by trying to take second and getting into scoring position for either Zimmerman or Daniel Murphy to drive him in.
It’s been fun to watch this brand of baseball over the first week after watching a team that had the second fewest stolen bases in all of baseball last season. Even without Ben Revere in the lineup, the team is still taking chances on the bases and manufacturing runs with speed. So far, that strategy has paid off to a 4-1 record.