Time For Murphy To Hit Cleanup
Once again, Daniel Murphy was able to keep the Washington Nationals in the ballgame with his consistent offense. The second baseman went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a home run, and three RBI’s, but his average dropped to .398.
Murphy’s first clutch hit of the night came in the fourth inning. With Anthony Rendon on second and two outs, Murphy hit a 1-1 fastball from starter Anibal Sanchez into center field for a base hit to drive in the first run. With that hit, Murphy is now hitting .480 (12-for-25) with 14 RBI’s with runners in scoring position this year.
Two innings later, Murphy would provide some power against Sanchez when he hit a 2-2 slider over the wall in right for a two-run homer, his fifth of the season.
Other than Murphy’s RBI’s, the Nats didn’t have much success against Sanchez. The Tigers’ right-hander went six innings, gave up four runs on six hits, struck out two, and walked three on 91 pitches. He made one other mistake in the field when he didn’t let a Strasburg bunt go foul in the seventh inning.
Right now, the best decision for the Nats’ lineup would be for Baker to put Murphy in the cleanup spot because he provides the best protection for Harper. On the other hand, Anthony Rendon is not providing much protection in front of Harper (.211 average).
The big situation that stood out in this game was in the seventh. With runners on the corners and one out, Brad Ausmus pulled a Joe Maddon and walked Harper intentionally to load the bases. Zimmerman still couldn’t make the manager pay as he popped out to first base.
I was surprised Zimmerman got the start yesterday after he left 14 men on base Sunday and that he didn’t get at least the first part of the game off. But, it will be interesting to see if this game is the one that has Baker makes the change.
Next: Baker With Edge Over Ausmus