The Washington Nationals scored three of their six runs last night on solo home runs, but also managed to create three runs without going deep. Jayson Werth drove in a run with an RBI double in the first then homered in the seventh. Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos and shortstop Ian Desmond hit solo home runs in the second and fourth innings, respectively, and Adam LaRoche singled in a run in the first and collected an RBI on a sac fly in the fifth.
Manager Matt Williams, who has talked about creating and cashing in on opportunities all season in his first year on the Nationals' bench, stressed the importance of not relying soley on the long ball again last night when asked about the power on display in Oriole Park.
"There's capability there, for sure," he said of the team's ability to hit home runs.
"I think that you can't live by them, certainly, you have to manufacture sometimes," Williams explained. "To get those homers with guys on base is especially important because those are crooked numbers. So, it's a good ballpark to hit home runs in certainly. All you have to do is look in the other dugout and know that. But it's important for us to get guys on base and give ourselves opportunities and then if we're swinging well and those balls go out of the ballpark, we put up crooked numbers, that's good."
The Nationals have struggled in the power department this season in large part because some of their big bats have dealt with hand and finger issues that they are still working their way back from even now.
Through 89 games, the Nats were tied with the Braves for seventh in the NL with 77 home runs as a team this season.
"Look at our guys," Williams said.
"[Ryan Zimmerman] coming off the thumb, it's strength. [Bryce] Harper, certainly strength. Wilson it's strength. And the more you play the more that strength comes back. So, that's what we're seeing."
According to the Nationals' pregame notes, however, in which they cite some numbers provided by the Elias Sports Bureau, with home runs by Ian Desmond (7th) and Wilson Ramos (8th) in the lineup last night, they, "... lead the NL with 24 combined home runs from the bottom third (7th, 8th, 9th hitters) of the lineup."
Will they get more pop from the bottom tonight in the second game of the two-game set in OPACY?
• Here are the lineups for tonight's game:
|WASHINGTON NATIONALS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Denard Span - CF||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Anthony Rendon - 3B||Steve Pearce - LF|
|Jayson Werth - RF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Adam LaRoche - 1B||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Ryan Zimmerman - DH||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Bryce Harper - LF||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Ian Desmond - SS||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Wilson Ramos - C||Caleb Joseph - C|
|Kevin Frandsen - 2B||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Gio Gonzalez - LHP||Wei-Yin Chen - LHP|