Washington Nationals News: Nats coming up clutch, powerful off the bench
Today’s District Daily features stories on the Washington Nationals’ power off the bench this season and Jonathan Papelbon reaching a career milestone with last night’s save.
In today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes discusses the Nationals’ powerful bench, which is now second in baseball with six pinch-hit home runs. As Janes notes, the bench also made some team history last night, with the Nationals hitting two pinch-hit homers in one game for the first time in their history.
As Janes notes in her article, the bench has played a major role in the team’s strong start to the 2016 season. Here’s what manager Dusty Baker had to say about the importance of having a strong bench:
"“Your bench is so very important,” Baker said. “You want some production off your guys on the bench and that’s why you try to give them some few at-bats and some action so that they feel more comfortable. These guys they work hard and they hit a lot and they have a lot of pride coming off the bench and they’re proud of what they’re doing as a unit.”"
Also in today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier discusses a career milestone that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon reached during last night’s win over the Marlins. As Collier writes, Papelbon recorded his 359th career save last night, moving him past Troy Percival for sole possession of 10th place on the all-time saves list.
Next up on the all-time list is Jeff Reardon with 367 saves, followed by Joe Nathan with 377. If Papelbon stays healthy this season, he should be able to pass both players and end the season at eighth on the all-time list.
Papelbon is currently second among active players, trailing Francisco Rodriguez who is in fourth place with 367 saves.
Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.
Nationals bench makes a little bit of history with pinch-hit power
(Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)
Ask any major leaguer to name the toughest job in their sport, and most will mention pinch hitting. Getting one at-bat a game — or perhaps every few games, in slower times — leaves more time to think and evaluate and stew than most hitters would prefer. Taking that at-bat late in the game, against a hard throwing reliever paid specifically to get outs like those, constitutes a substantial challenge.
“I’ve always said that long men in the bullpen and guys hitting off the bench, those are the hardest jobs in baseball,” Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon said Friday night. “So tip my hat to those guys.” Read full article here.
Papelbon reaches milestone as ‘pen gets job done
WASHINGTON — Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 10th save of the season to secure the Nationals’ 5-3 victory over the Marlins on Friday night. It was the 359th of his career, moving him past Troy Percival for sole possession of 10th place on the all-time saves list.
Papelbon, however, downplayed the significance of the accomplishment after the game.
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“I don’t really play for personal accolades to see how far I can get,” Papelbon said. “I play because I love competing and I love coming to the park every day and I love the grind. I play for championships and my teammates, and that’s it. When it’s all said and done and I’m done playing this game, I’ll kind of go back and look at everything.” Read full article here.