After Tom Gorzelanny threw a scoreless inning in relief of Jordan Zimmermann in the bottom of the sixth on Tuesday night in Citi Field, Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson sent 25-year-old right-handed slugger Tyler Moore up to hit against New York Mets knuckler R.A. Dickey. "He was 1 for 1 [vs Dickey] going in there," the Nats' 69-year-old skipper explained, citing the smallest of sample sizes, "... and I knew he had the power to hit one out and BOOM!" Moore hit a two-run home run to left that turned a 2-1 Mets' lead into a 3-2 Nats' advantage. "It was sweet," Johnson said, "But they've been doing it all year long and that's been our strength," with the "they" he was referring to the so-called "Goon Squad" on the Nats' bench.
"It's been doing that all year long," Johnson said when asked about the contributions his bench has made this year. "It's been an outstanding bench. Last year, I thought we were a little short on the bench offensively and with [Chad] Tracy, Tyler Moore and company, [Roger Bernadina] and [Steve Lombardozzi], these guys have been doing a great job all year long. I'm really proud of them."
Moore, an '08 16th Round pick out of Mississippi State University who (you're bound to be reminded on each and every national broadcast in the next month) hit 31 HRs in back-to-back seasons in the Nats' system in 2010 and 2011, has been particularly impressive at the plate in 2012, considering the rookie outfielder has been filling in when some of the Nats' starters have gone down and then going back to a bench role and still continuing to produce. On the year Moore has eight doubles, nine home runs and a .279/.340/.529 line in 66 games and 153 plate appearances. As a pinch hitter, Moore has a .240/.296/.560 line with two of his eight doubles and two of the nine home runs after he hit one out to left field in Citi Field on Tuesday night in New York...
Davey Johnson said Moore has adjusted well to a tough role. "Well, I think when he was here the first time and then he went back out and then he came back in," the manager started somewhat confusingly, "I think he learned from that experience and he's doing more things and staying prepared and he's much more aggressive when he goes up to pinch hit. You know an everyday ballplayer likes to go up there and take a pitch and get comfortable with the timing and everything, but I talked to him about it and I said, you go in there and you start swinging from the get-go and you'll gauge your timing better. And he's handled it like a veteran. Got some hits for us."
Moore was 3 for 19 in 12 games from April 29-May 26th before he went back to Triple-A. In his second stint, which started on June 8th when he was called up after an injury to Carlos Maldonado and has continued through today, Moore has a .298/.366/.587 line with 36 hits (8 doubles, 9 HRs) in 54 games and 134 plate appearances. After the big home run Tuesday night, Jayson Werth told reporters, including NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman, that he's been impressed with what Moore has done so far this season:
"'I think Tyler has a really good chance to be a really good everyday player, a dominant game-changer type player,' right fielder Jayson Werth said. 'A guy that can hit the middle of the order and do damage.'"
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo sounded equally impressed when he talked about Moore on this week's edition of The Mike Rizzo Show on 106.7 the FAN In D.C., telling hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier that Moore has stepped up and taken advantage of every opportunity he's been given since he joined the organization. "Don't forget," Rizzo said, "This is our Minor League Player of the Year . This is a guy who's hit  HRs in his last two minor league seasons and he's a guy who can really hit and hit for power. We put him out in left field, a position he's never played before and [he] has taken to it quite well."
"But what he can do," the Nationals' GM said, momentarily lapsing into scout-speak, "is he can roll the pole and he's got a great, quiet approach. He's country strong. And when he barrels the ball up it usually leaves the yard." Moore has barreled it up and hit nine home runs in in 29 games and 115 PAs at Triple-A this season and hit nine for the Nationals in 66 games and 153 PAs in part time work. He might be getting some more playing time while Michael Morse is out of the lineup recovering from the wrist issues he's dealing with right now. Davey Johnson said he'll flip a coin to decide between Moore and Roger Bernadina.
• Further Reading: Tyler Moore Minor League Player of the Year Interview: LINK.
• Further Listening: The Mike Rizzo Show with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier: