Washington Nationals: Bench Carries The Day Against Phillies
By Ricky Keeler
Yesterday, the Washington Nationals got good contributions from their reserve players in their win over the Phillies
In the Washington Nationals 8-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, the big story was Tanner Roark shutting out the Phillies for the second time this season. However, on a day where Dusty Baker gave some of the regulars off, the bench players stepped in and they all made contributions on offense.
With Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, and Danny Espinosa getting the afternoon off, Baker turned to Michael Taylor, Clint Robinson, and Stephen Drew to help fill in and those three players delivered. They combined to 7-for-11 with three RBI’s and two runs scored in the win. Plus, Chris Heisey picked up a pinch-hit double and ended up scoring on a Ben Revere single in the bottom of the eighth.
First, let’s start with Taylor, who was playing center field while Revere was in left. He went 3-for-5 with a RBI hitting in the second spot in the order. The three hits were a season-high. Normally, Taylor isn’t a patient hitter, but he saw 22 pitches yesterday, which was the most of any player in the lineup. This is impressive because he didn’t even have a walk in any of those at-bats.
It’s been a good week for Taylor. In the four games that he has started, he is 7-for-18 with three doubles and three RBI’s. While he is not getting everyday playing time, His lone RBI of the afternoon came in the second when he hit a 1-2 curveball from Aaron Nola into left field.
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Robinson got the start at first base and went 3-for-4. Before yesterday’s game, he had only one multi-hit all game (May 4 against the Royals). He hasn’t had as much playing time as last year because Zimmerman has stayed healthy. Still, in 29 at-bats in May, he hit .310 with two home runs and seven RBI’s.
Finally, we look at Drew, who got the start at shortstop. When the Nats signed Drew to a one-year deal this winter, fans though they were getting the player that had a batting average no higher than .201 the last two seasons. While his average is only at .226, Drew has been one of the team’s big power threats off the bench.
In pinch-hitting situations, Drew is only 3-for-13, but he does have two home runs (second on the team behind Heisey – 3). Drew has played in three of the last four games and is 5-for-11 with two home runs and five RBI’s. He has driven in a run in each of his last four games and is fifth on the team in RBI’s this month (six).
Next: Recap: Roark Continues Dominance Of Phillies
When you consider that the Washington Nationals only have one day off left until the All-Star Break (June 23), they will need their bench to continue to bring consistent production so that the everyday players can get the rest they need.
So far, Baker has put his players in the right position to succeed, regardless of the lack of playing time. While there are a lot of games left this season, the Washington Nationals bench this season has been much better than last year.