Matt Williams talks Nationals: On Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa

Mitchell Layton

Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams talked earlier this week about Jayson Werth tweaking things at the plate. He talked about Werth's game vs Chicago, Bryce Harper's return and Danny Espinosa's struggles from the left side of the plate today.

Jayson Werth's first inning home run off Jason Hamell Friday morning in the nation's capital accounted for one of the two runs the Washington Nationals scored in the 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Werth went 2 for 3 with a double, home run and a walk, leaving the 35-year-old outfielder 12 for 39 (.308 AVG) with three doubles, two home runs, six walks and five Ks in the last ten games.

"That just means he's on top of the ball, so the adjustment of standing up a little bit, taking a little bit of a different angle to the baseball has helped." -Matt Williams on Jayson Werth's HR/double in loss to Cubs

Nats' skipper Matt Williams talked earlier this week about the work the veteran right fielder was doing to improve at the plate after a fairly brutal .212/.297/.293 June which saw him hit just five doubles and one home run in 111 plate appearances.

"He's been working hard in the cage with Rick [Schu]," Williams told reporters after Werth went 2 for 3 with two doubles and two walks in Tuesday night's 7-1 win over the Colorado Rockies.

"He stood up a little bit tonight," Williams said. "A little bit taller at the plate. They worked on that early today. And so he said he saw the ball a little better tonight. Which is good."

"He's a big guy," Williams explained to a reporter who asked what he meant when he said Werth "stood up" at the plate.

"If he gets too crouched he tends to get long with his stride. So he just made a minor adjustment, he stood a little taller the plate. It gets him on top of the baseball a little bit more. He was comfortable with that tonight."

In his last three games, the Nats' right fielder is 6 for 10 with two doubles, two home runs and three walks.

Williams saw more good signs today, not only on the home run, a no-doubter to left that landed 15 rows back in the left field seats, but also on an opposite field double later in the game.

"Just staying on top of the ball a little bit more," the Nationals' first-year skipper said after the loss to the Cubs.

"Saw it on the homer to his pull side. [Pedro] Strop threw him a good fastball up and away and he was able to line it to right. That just means he's on top of the ball, so the adjustment of standing up a little bit, taking a little bit of a different angle to the baseball has helped."

"He's a little jumpy. He's jumping at it a little bit. That long a layoff is a long time, so it takes some time to get back in the swing of it." -Matt Williams on Bryce Harper since coming off the DL

While Werth's going strong, Bryce Harper, who is, of course, just back off the DL after a long layoff, has struggled to get right at the plate, going 0 for 4 with two Ks today. Harper has three hits, a walk and six Ks in 15 ABs in the four games since he returned to the lineup.

"He's a little jumpy," Williams said this afternoon. "He's jumping at it a little bit. That long a layoff is a long time, so it takes some time to get back in the swing of it. Looks a little bit jumpy to me, not quite seeing it as well as he can."

The Nationals' manager also talked about Danny Espinosa before today's game, responding to questions from a reporter who wondered what was behind the switch-hitting infielder's struggles from the left side of the plate.

Through 76 games, Espinosa has a .196/.253/.307 line, six doubles, four home runs, eight walks and 75 Ks in 194 plate appearances from the left side of the plate and a .277/.365/.462 line, four doubles, two home runs, seven walks and 18 Ks in 74 PAs from the right side.

"I just think his left-handed swing is a little bit longer. It's really special when he puts the head of the bat on it because it's powerful. But it's a little bit longer..." -Matt Williams on "Right Side" vs "Left Side" Danny Espinosa

"I think his swing is a touch longer on the left hand side," Williams explained. "I think that can contribute to a lot of things. Missing your pitch. Having to commit earlier on a swing than you would normally commit on the other side.

"I think he sees the ball fine from both sides. But I just think his left-handed swing is a little bit longer. It's really special when he puts the head of the bat on it because it's powerful. But it's a little bit longer than his right-handed stroke. He's always switch hit. He's always been a lefty vs righty, righty vs lefty. Coming up his left-handed swing was better than his right-handed swing. It's just a little bit long, a little bit longer than the right side."

Asked if any consideration was given to asking Espinosa to commit solely to hitting from the right side, Williams said, "No."

"I know he works on both sides of the plate. We want to get him certainly matchups right-handed if we can, just because he's had more success that way. There may be situations like the other night if they tie the score and we've got to go extras, he's probably going to hit left-handed. But we'll try to match him up as much as we can in that regard. It's virtually impossible to do.

"He's continuing to work on both. That's not easy to do. He's working hard, continuing to, always does."

On the year, Espinosa has a .217/.284/.348 line overall, and he was the odd man out once Harper returned from the DL, going back to the utility role he filled at the start of the 2014 campaign.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker