Washington Nationals: Three Takeaways From Game 1 NLDS Loss
Time To Bench Espinosa
Heading into the postseason, the player in the Washington Nationals offense that was in the biggest slump was Danny Espinosa. The shortstop went 9-for-85 (.106) during the month of September with three home runs, but he had 40 strikeouts.
Against Clayton Kershaw last night, he couldn’t get a hit and barely made any contact. He struck out in all three at-bats against the left-hander, but that wasn’t bad enough. All three of his strikeouts came with two men on base and he fouled off two of the 12 pitches.
With Wilson Ramos out of the lineup, the depth that Baker can send out there is thinner than the Dodgers lineup. Yesterday, Baker made the decision to put Espinosa ahead of Pedro Severino in the lineup. Severino was able to reach base twice and had a double in the fourth (later scored).
This season, Espinosa hit .233 with five home runs and 46 RBI’s with men in scoring position. That being said, his 35 strikeouts were the most of any Nats player in those situations. Despite those struggles, Baker said he is going to be in the lineup later today:
Now, Espinosa’s defense is valuable to the Nats. However, if he can’t even make contact right now and if the high rate of strikeouts continues, might it be best from an offensive standpoint to play Stephen Drew even if you lose some defense in the process?
However, I am not surprised that Baker is sticking with Espinosa. He has stayed loyal to the veterans all season long and no one should expect that to change, even in a must win game like today is.