Washington, as a team, was 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position in last night’s 4-3 loss to Los Angeles.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after Game 1 of the NLDS that it was the same problem they’ve had all season.
“We had plenty of opportunities to score,” Baker said.
“That's kind of the saga of the year. You know, we didn't hit with runners in scoring position.”
Danny Espinosa, in particular, had a rough night, going 0 for 3 with three Ks and six left on base before he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh.
Baker, while acknowledging Espinosa’s struggles, didn’t have any plans to make a change at short. He did, once again, chase pitches and fail to make solid contact, however.
“Well, you know, I mean, this is -- it's not the first time this has happened this year,” Baker said.
“But then Espinosa can turn around and hit the next pitch out of the ballpark. That's what's kind of frustrating when you don't know -- he was swinging at balls, you know, out of the zone, and then balls in the zone he wasn't catching up to it. His swing was long tonight.
“You know, he didn't have a very good night. But then tomorrow, we got a left-hander going tomorrow, so he's back in there tomorrow.”
The Nationals face Rich Hill this afternoon in Game 2 with the Dodgers, but in spite of the fact that he went with rookie backstop Pedro Severino in the series opener, and in spite of the fact that Severino went 1 for 3 with a run scored, Baker said he might turn to Jose Lobaton for the second game of the best of five series.
“[Severino] did a great job,” Baker said. “He did a great job calling pitches. He hit a couple balls extremely hard, especially the ball to the third baseman. I mean, that caught him. I don't know if he caught it, but it caught him.
“You know, [Severino] was [Severino]. He has good life. You know that he's exuberant. You know that he wants to win.”
“I'm not sure about tomorrow because [Lobaton] is feeling better, and Lobi, I think, is 3-for-3 off of Hill, so we'll probably go that way tomorrow.”
Try to ignore the fact that such a small sample size might be a determining factor, or that in another small sample size, Lobaton was just 1 for 15 vs left-handers in the regular season.
Tanner Roark, today’s starter, said he spent time working with each of the backup backstops to get more comfortable after Wilson Ramos went down with a torn ACL late in the regular season.
“I've been working with both of them,” Roark told reporters, “just how I see guys and the lineup, we went through the whole entire -- all the guys that they have for the postseason roster, who they have on the bench and stuff like that, who they will have in the lineup. We have gone through and talked about them and what I want to do to a lot of the hitters.”
Roark will be ready. Will the Nationals even up the NLDS before they head out to LA? Will the weather be a factor in this afternoon’s affair?
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for Game 2 with the Dodgers: