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Nationals' infielder Yunel Escobar does it again - 5 for 5 for the third time this season

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Yunel Escobar's done it three times this season. 5 for 5 in one game. Not bad. In addition to dramatic jumps in his slash line, the five-hit efforts have earned him the praise of Nationals' manager Matt Williams, who discussed what allows Yuni to do it...

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Yunel Escobar's first five-for-five game of the season, in a 6-4 win over the Miami Marlins in early May, took him from a .271/.326/.376 line to .311/.361/.411 in one night.

Washington's 32-year-old infielder singled the Fish to death in front of an appreciative crowd in the nation's capital and impressed his manager in the process, who told reporters, "Yunel did what he does."

"He doesn't get outside himself. He understands situations. He understands what's needed in that given at bat. He's got an idea of what the pitcher is going to do." -Matt Williams on Nats' Yunel Escobar

What Yunel does, Williams explained that night, is stay inside the baseball, remain calm at the plate, take what he's given and make contact.

"He doesn't get outside himself," Williams said. "He understands situations. He understands what's needed in that given at bat. He's got an idea of what the pitcher is going to do. He studies the previous hitters before him and simply has an approach when he goes up there.

"Those kinds of at bats are at bats that prolong innings, they get you wins like it did tonight. Gets, certainly, our middle of the lineup guys to the plate more often, which is all positive for us. It's just a nice job of hitting all night long."

Six games later, Escobar did it again, connecting for five hits in five at bats in an 11-1 Nationals' win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Chase Field. Again it was all singles and again he gave himself a dramatic bump in his triple slash line which went from .311/.362/.396 to .342/.388/.423 over the course of nine innings.

"He's calm and he's just taking what's given to him," Williams told reporters in Arizona.

"He's hitting the ball middle of the diamond, which creates opportunity," Williams said.

"You stand at the plate and it looks like that's the most crowded spot on the diamond, but that's actually the biggest. So, he understands himself, he takes the ball the other way when he has to and we've seen him, over the course of this season anyway, get a bunch of big hits for us."

"Middle of the diamond. Short swing. Stays on the baseball. Swings at strikes. All of those things combined allow him to get games like that." -Matt Williams on Escobar's latest 5 for 5

Thirty-seven games later, over which he put up a .319/.376/.383 line with four doubles and triple and a home run, Escobar did it again last night, another 5 for 5, though this one was in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Three of Escobar's hits, against his former team, came off Rays' right-hander Chris Archer. He mixed a double (no.8 of 2015) in with the singles this time, and saw his average jump fifteen points (.316 to .331), his OBP rise by twelve points (.370 to .382) and his slugging percentage bump up seventeen points (from .394 to .411).

He also put himself in some heady company as MLB.com's Andrew Simon noted on Twitter. Escobar became just the fourth player since 1914 (when Baseball-reference.com's stats begin) to collect three five-hit games in his team's first 67 games, alongside Kenny Lofton with the Atlanta Braves in 1997, Stan Musial with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1948 and Edd Roush with the New York Giants in 1929.

"It's just the approach he's got," Williams told reporters last night in Nationals Park.

"Middle of the diamond. Short swing. Stays on the baseball. Swings at strikes. All of those things combined allow him to get games like that. So he's had a good season. So, yeah, the middle of the diamond is key. You can stay inside the baseball and line it up the middle or the other way."