Do the speed games return?
The Washington Nationals got Trea Turner back in the starting lineup this week after he missed about two months with a wrist injury. Without Turner, the team wasn’t as aggressive at stealing bases and you could tell it hurt their offense.
If you look at the stats from this month, the Nats do have 16 stolen bases, which is three behind the league lead. However, take a look at who has the bulk of those steals during that time period.
Five of the stolen bases are from Wilmer Difo, who won’t get as much playing time at shortstop now that Turner is back. He did play right field on Tuesday night. Three of those steals are from Brian Goodwin, who is currently on the disabled list. Turner did steal a base in yesterday’s 4-0 win.
Now that Turner is back, the stolen bases or as I like to call them when I tweet, “speed games”, should be back in full effect. If that is the case, then it shouldn’t be a big deal who Baker hits second. The reason for that is if Turner steals a base, then all the number two hitter has to do is move Turner to third to set up a RBI opportunity.
True, the Nats are great at hitting home runs when everyone is back in the lineup. However, as Ron Juckett talked about yesterday, small ball can win games in October. That one stolen base could lead to a run that can decide a postseason game.
It will take a while for Turner to find his rhythm at the plate, but his speed is going to bring an extra dimension to an already great offense.