He did more than pound the New York Mets.
Healed from a left glute injury late in the year in Atlanta, Murphy returns to the lineup after hitting .347 this season and slugging .595. Along with an OPS of .985, he finished league best in in that and slugging and a razor-thin second place in the batting crown.
Forget his defense, having him rested and ready for the NLDS is a huge boost for the Nats. If he bat’s third, as he did most of the year, his job will be to bring Trea Turner home if the rookie gets on base and give Harper and Anthony Rendon RBI opportunities.
His 25 homers and 104 RBI are a career high, yet his 47 doubles are a more dangerous contribution. If the Dodgers pitch around Murphy, Harper and Rendon are there to inflict damage. With home field, a slow and steady drip of base hits and Nats fans will get into the heads of the Dodgers.
If this series is determined by a laundry list of items instead of on big play, Murphy’s ability to reach base over and over becomes more important. As Harper slumped, Murphy picked up the slack. Something the Nats can exploit.