With his 2 for 4 night at the plate in the series opener with Minnesota, Washington Nationals' second baseman Daniel Murphy has now reached base safely in 14 of 16 games this season. Murphy's multi-hit game was his ninth in sixteen games for the Nats.
The 31-year-old infielder signed a 3-year/$37.5M free agent deal with the Nationals this winter, after seven seasons in New York, with the Mets.
Through sixteen games, Murphy leads the NL with a .411 AVG and ranks third in the National League and the major leagues in OBP (.483) and third in the NL (fourth in the majors) in SLG (.679).
In his first 64 plate appearances so far with Washington, Murphy has reached base 31 times.
He's also hit five doubles, two triples and two home runs while drawing seven walks.
With runners in scoring position early this season, Murphy is 5 for 10 (.500/.643/.1.100) with a double, triple, home run, four walks and three Ks.
Nats' skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after last night's game that his success with a bat in hands is all about the preparation Murphy does before he steps to the plate.
"Murph has a game plan," Baker said. "He has a game plan every night and you can see him execute it, whether it's a right-hander or a left-hander."
Before today, he'd yet to sit out a game this season. That changes this afternoon.
"Murph has played every game and so I think it's about time that we give him a day off tomorrow," Baker explained, "and then he'll play Sunday and then we've got another day off on Monday before we start the next series so...
"Murph has more than earned his keep. He's done his thing, big time, so I'm glad we have him."
Stephen Drew is starting at second this afternoon, the second game of three with the Twins in D.C. Chris Heisey gets the start in center too, with Michael A. Taylor getting a day of as well.
Here's Washington's lineup for today's matchup with Minnesota via The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes [ed. note - "Werth is in left field, not catching."]:
Murphy off, Heisey replaces Taylor vs. Phil Hughes: Heisey CF, Rendon 3B, Harper RF, Zim 1B, Drew 2B, Werth C, Ramos C, Espi SS, Roark P.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) April 23, 2016