Washington Nationals: Tanner Roark Faces Biggest Career Test
By Ron Juckett
Trea Turner and Danny Espinosa were lost souls in Game 1.
Espinosa was awful. In three at bats, he struck out every time taking a total of three balls. If there was one hitter who did not get the memo on patience and discipline, it was him.
Although this is his third playoff series with Washington, he was not a starter two years ago against the San Francisco Giants and went 1-for-15 in 2012 against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the pressure of the team’s history and calls for Stephen Drew to start over him, perhaps Espinosa tried too hard and fell out of his normal game. It happens.
If he looks lost at the plate early, manager Dusty Baker will have no choice but to use the quick hook. Espinosa stranded six baserunners in Game 1. If two score, we talk about how the Nats can push the Dodgers to the brink in Game 2. Instead, Washington is the team behind the eight-ball.
Although Turner hit a sacrifice fly off Kershaw, he was nervous in his first MLB postseason game. Digging in against Clayton Kershaw at an odd time with a full house will do that.
That was yesterday. In Game 2, he needs to go back to what worked all season. Take pitches and get on base. With his speed, any walks or singles will make Dodgers pitchers pause and split their concentration with him and the No. 2 hitter. Bryce Harper had the honors yesterday instead of Jayson Werth. Expect that again in Game 2.
For Turner, forget about Game 1 and settle into the normal routine. His contributions can make the difference.