Danny Espinosa was 1 for 4 with a run scored and three driven in last night, and the 27-year-old's one hit was a three-run home run that put the Washington Nationals up 6-0 on the New York Mets in what ended up a 7-1 win.
The Nationals' 27-year-old '08 3rd Round pick's seventh home run of the year came off Mets' lefty Jon Niese. With the blast, Espinosa improved to 26 for 84 (.310/.383/.524) with seven doubles and three home runs from the right side of the plate. A swinging K in his final at bat against right-hander Carlos Torres, left Espinosa 37 for 201 (.184/.243/.294) from the left side this season. Espinosa told reporters after the game that he had, in fact, thought about giving up on switch-hitting:
Interesting thoughts from Danny Espinosa. He said he could see giving right-handed hitting a try, but it would have to be in the offseason.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) August 7, 2014
Danny Espinosa says he's given thought to only hitting right-handed in the future. Would likely have to be an offseason project, though— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) August 7, 2014
Nationals' manager Matt Williams was asked after the game for his take on why Espinosa's continued to struggle from the left side while crushing left-handed pitching?
"For me he just gets on top of the baseball more from the right side than he does from the left side," Williams said.
"It's something he works on every day left-handed. But it's naturally a little more on top of the baseball, I think, right-handed. Tonight it was a changeup down, not a bad pitch, but he had good length through the swing and was able to get enough of it to get it out. But, like we talked about before the game, he's swinging really well, especially from the right side. And tonight, big hit for us."
Adam LaRoche homered twice in last night's win, going 2 for 4 overall.
So far in August, the 34-year-old first baseman is 8 for 21 with two doubles and two home runs in six games and 25 plate appearances, following a rough .159/.238/.227 month of July in which he hit three doubles and one home run in 101 PAs. Williams was asked about the importance of getting LaRoche going down the stretch.
"It's really important," the first-year skipper said. "He's going to continue to hit in the middle of our order and tonight was a good example of him being on time. Against a lefty, the first homer is particularly good, because it's lefty/lefty and he was on time on that pitch and got enough of it, so we've talked about it before, when he's hitting those lofty fly balls to left field, he's just a tick off, tonight his timing was much better."
Williams took an opportunity late in last night's game to get Jayson Werth some rest and get Steven Souza, Jr. some at bats. Souza went 0 for 1 at the plate, but put together a nice at bat which featured a somewhat-epic foul ball that went just wide of the foul pole in left. He also made a nice diving catch in right late in the game.
Williams liked what he saw from Souza.
"He's playing really well, he has been all season," Williams said.
"He made a nice sliding catch. Just missed a homer. But he had a good at bat. Fouled the first one off, pulled the second one and actually just missed the third one too. So that was good to see."
The opportunity arose to get Souza some work and rest Werth, who's been dealing with an ankle and now a neck issue in the last week or so.
"Jayson has got a little shoulder that's been bothering him a little bit," Williams explained.
"Tonight he was a little tight in his neck, so rather than risk it in that game, we thought we'd get Steven in there. So we'll see how Jayson is tomorrow, but he's been a little tight for the last week or so."
The problem is in Werth's right shoulder.
"It's from swinging," Williams said. "He took a funky swing about a week ago and it's been lingering, it's nothing serious, but if we get a chance to get him out of there, we'll do that."
• Werth's back in the starting lineup today for the series finale with the Mets: