Washington Nationals: Sometimes All You Need is Luck
Today’s Washington Nationals reaction looks at how a little luck can sometimes go a long way
A bat swung by the maestro, Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, traveled through the air. The smallest fraction of the tip, far away from his barely choked-up hand placement, caught an 88 mile per hour sinker as it crossed the plate.
Down the third base line the ball went. It spun counter-clockwise toward foul territory halfway down toward the base, a tell-tale sign of a foul ball. Suddenly, an unexpected switch of direction occurred; the ball leapt back into fair territory, curved almost by calculation around the bag, and then made it’s way into foul territory as a fair ball and double for Murphy.
It’s been that kind of season of Murphy and that kind of season for the Washington Nationals in general. Murphy’s .352 batting average is still at the top of the National League (not by luck as much as a skillful reimagining of his batting approach) and has been the Nationals’ savior all season. But in a 14-inning game, a player is really only as good as his last at-bat. The stakes get higher as the game goes deeper.
It took all 14 innings for the Nats to beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 last night. While Murphy’s seeing-eye double came in the eighth and led to no runs, it said something. Baseball luck was on the Washington Nationals’ side.
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Baseball luck is different than regular luck. It shows up just as fast as it can vanish. It’s both a blessing and a cruelty. I can be embodied in the simple elements of the game such as the foul line chalk; it’s praised when the white of the baseball hits white on the outer edge, but scorned when it just doesn’t reach far enough.
One thing is for sure: when it’s there, it often leads to victories. In 14-inning marathons like last night, some indirect luck can go a long way toward a win. With their win last night, the Washington Nationals are now 4-2 in extra-inning games this season.
If Murphy’s double never happened, the first batter in the bottom of the 14th (Danny Espinosa) likely wouldn’t have been hit and Revere wouldn’t have the chance to drive in a run with his double off the right center field wall against Ross Ohlendorf.
It’s the little things that can separate a win and loss in baseball. It’s a game of inches. So far, the Washington Nationals are on pace for 98 wins, even if they do have a little bit of baseball luck on their side.