Asked about the effort Jayson Werth made in the tenth inning on Friday night to earn the win for the Washington Nationals, Nats Skipper Jim Riggleman said that it was a perfect example of the aggressive approach the Washington Nationals have been talking about since the start of Spring Training, "One of the things that we talk about is athleticism and the athleticism that's been added to the club and I think that's a great example right there. Really aggressive to take second base to begin with, because the ball gets away, I've seen a lot of players just hesitate to go and then not go. He's at second, then he aggressively steals third, he gets a great jump on a ground ball with the infield in and scores a run."
Werth's decision to steal third in particular, after reaching on an error and taking second while the Brewers recovered the ball, was a sign of how things have changed since last season in the Nats' Skipper's opinion, "We've done it a few times this year, we've probably done it as much this year in a few weeks, practically as we did last year," Riggleman said, "Nyjer [Morgan] would steal third, but the rest of the club was a little tentative, and I think from Spring Training on, we've attempted that a little more."
The aggressive approach helped Friday night in particular since the Nationals scored all four runs in a 4-3 win without an RBI hit. "We got a couple base on balls with bases loaded, we got the [winning run] without a hit, and you know, when a club is throwing pretty good against you, you still have to try to battle and scratch out a win some way and I'm very proud of our guys. We know we're not hitting on all cylinders yet, but you've got to scratch out some wins when you're not hitting on all cylinders."
"We haven't even come close offensively to what we're going to be," Riggleman said on Saturday before the announcement that the game had been postponed, but asked again about Werth's contributions, Riggleman said Werth's approach to the game and his aggressiveness in all situations, "will sink in with a lot of players, however, that's been going on since the beginning of Spring Training. Really from day one of Spring Training, as every club in baseball and as we have always done, [we] really have preached that message. Let's be aggressive, let's go first to third, let's challenge infielders and all that stuff, however, it often doesn't carry into the season."
"I give [Third Base Coach] Bo Porter a lot of credit. Bo has made sure that with our baserunners, that they've maintained that aggressiveness, that's not a Spring Training thing, that's something we want to do throughout the season and our players have really absorbed that message and really are running the bases aggressively. And, you know, one of the under-the-radar type things [was] Jayson's effort down the line. When you hit a routine ground ball, you want to give a good effort down the line, but quite often you'll see guys upset with themselves and give you less than a good effort down the first base line because they assume they're going to be out. He ran hard, by running hard, puts a little pressure on the infielder, the first baseman doesn't know for sure if he can come off and tag him, so he tries to stay on the base and by staying on the base he can't really reach the ball as well, next thing you know, Jayson's on second. If he's jogging down the first base line, that's an easy play for the first baseman."