The Nats’ incredible depth
The Nationals have been extremely snakebit when it comes to injuries this season, with someone new getting injured seemingly every night. Despite the plethora of injuries, the Nats currently have a 15 game lead in the division. This has been made possible by the Nats’ incredible depth and several under-the-radar players stepping up big time.
Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo have both been outstanding off the bench this year, but have also been given regular playing time due to various injuries. Goodwin, who has played all three outfield positions due to injuries to Adam Eaton, Michael Taylor, and Jayson Werth, has played Gold Glove-caliber defense and done a phenomenal job all over the lineup.
Although he has been striking out a bit too much since the All-Star Break, Goodwin has been among the Nats’ most dangerous hitters. After going 0-for-4 in the first game against Miami, he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in game two, 1-for-4 with two runs scored in game three, and 2-for-4 with two runs scored in game four.
Goodwin has also been great in clutch situations. On Thursday night, Goodwin led off the bottom of the eighth in a tie game and crushed a go-ahead homer into the second deck. The Nats needed a run to give the three-headed monster a lead and Goodwin provided just that.
Difo has also been fantastic this season. His versatility has been extremely beneficial, as he’s filled in all over the infield and minimally in the outfield. On top of playing great defense all over the infield, he has also had a remarkable season at the plate. His versatility applies to the offensive side of things as well, as he’s hit all over the lineup and performs in whatever role he fills.
Adam Lind has probably been the best bench player in the league this season, and has come through on numerous occasions. His most recent clutch hit came on Monday when he singled in the go-ahead run (Difo, big surprise) in the bottom of the eighth. He gets a hit seemingly every time up and has been phenomenal in the clutch.
Adrian Sanchez and Andrew Stevenson, two of the Nats’ most recent call-ups also had a huge impact on the Miami series. Sanchez played in three of the four games and went 6-for-10 with three doubles, an RBI, and three runs scored. He also spent two games in the two-hole, proving that Dusty Baker is quickly growing confident in the young infielder’s abilities.
Although Stevenson never got a plate appearance on Thursday, he was one of the most impactful players. He came in as a pinch-runner for Lind and stole a base. Although he didn’t end up scoring, he put lots of pressure on Drew Steckenrider. The stolen base was big, but Stevenson made his biggest impact in the field. With the tying run on third with two outs in the ninth, Dee Gordon poked a weak line drive down the left field line. It looked like the ball was going to fall in for a hit, but Stevenson laid out to make an absolutely unbelievable game-saving catch.
The Nats have dealt with a plethora of injuries this season, but several players have come up and filled in admirably. With plenty of Nats still injured and Anthony Rendon feeling a bit under the weather, look for the Nats’ depth to come into play this series.