The hot streak the Washington Nationals are on, winners of nine of their last ten, started well before Gerardo Parra returned to the clubhouse. They are 3-0 with him on the big club, however, and from fans to players, everyone can tell a boost in energy since his arrival.
Winning makes everything better, and things are about as good as they can get with the Nationals right now. The pitching is starting to click, the hitting is slowly showing signs of getting into a rhythm (thank you, Kyle Schwarber raking from the leadoff spot), and the wins are piling up
With Parra back in the mix, the themes, quotes, and vibes from the 2019 World Series season are starting to creep back into play. Parra needs a sidekick though. An Anibal Sanchez type to join in combo hugs, shades wearing, and enthusiasm infusing.
Paolo Espino, please submit your resume.
Nationals fans are falling in love with Paolo Espino, much like they did with Gerardo Parra two years earlier.
Espino is not Parra. He is not jumping railings to run on the field and greet teammates who have scored. He’s not vocal as he lacks the veteran before the title leadership. For all the eccentric people out there, they always have a mild mannered person to balance them out. Barney Fife, he’s got Andy Griffith. Gilligan had the Skipper. Screech had Zack Morris. Parra has Compañero de Tiburón, or Espino.
Fans have fallen in love with Espino. He is the underdog who has gained the trust of his manager and teammates. He’s gone from the career minor leaguer, to one of the guys. Time for him to take on a new role.
Espino goes about his business in a workmanlike way. While Parra is making things fun in the clubhouse and keeping things loose, Espino is notching victories and locking down saves. These two need to ride together, and lead the calvary into battle again.
Baseball is about having fun, and the Nationals are having a lot of fun lately. A journeyman reliever/spot starter, Espino doesn’t know what the future holds so he must relish the opportunity and seize the moment. His 2.20 earned run average suggests he has. Now it’s time for him to get comfortable with the culture of the club and embody the role of fan favorite.