Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker was happy with the start he got from Gio Gonzalez and the offensive output overall in last night’s series opening win over the San Francisco Giants in the nation’s capital.
Two Nationals did most of the damage on offense, with Trea Turner 2 for 4 with a HR, double and two runs scored, and Wilson Ramos 1 for 2 with a home run and a sac fly in what ended up a 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants, but Baker, while acknowledging their efforts, pointed to another National, whose work he thought might have been overlooked.
“Turner’s looking great,” Baker said. “He’s playing a good center field, a good second base and Ramos continues to hit.
“This is what Ramos has been doing all year and I think there’s a good chance that the All-Star Game helped his confidence too and now he feels like a star, at least he should, but he never changed his demeanor.”
“It was overlooked how Bryce looked tonight,” Baker added. “He hit the ball hard tonight. He hit the ball hard to left field.
“And when he starts doing that, that means he’s not pulling off the ball, and I told him, just keep swinging cause good times are right around the corner. So, we have a few guys here we’ve still got to get going and then we’ll be operating on full cylinders.”
Harper went 1 for 3 with a single and sac fly collecting a hit in his fourth straight game.
Asked what’s been different for Harper recently, as he’s started to square balls up that he’d been fouling off while he’s struggled, even if they’re not all falling for hits, Baker once again pointed to Harper’s feet as he has on several occasions in recent weeks.
“The last few games he’s slowed his feet down,” Baker explained, “and we talked about it and [Assistant Hitting Coach] Jacque [Jones] and [Hitting Coach Rick] Schu have talked about it too, when you have slow feet you have fast hands and when you have fast feet you have slow hands.
“He’s been hitting the ball on the nose and hitting the ball the other way and that’s how you’ve got to approach this thing. It didn’t take you a week to get in this hole and it’s going to take you probably twice as long to get out, but it’s nice to see him hitting the ball good again.”
Harper will try to keep building himself back up tonight when the Nationals take on the Giants again in the second game of their three-game set in the nation’s capital.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s game: