Ryan Zimmerman told MASN’s Dan Kolko last Wednesday, after the third game of the four-game set in Coors Field, that though the Nationals were almost done with their three-city, ten-game road trip, it wouldn’t really, “... end until after those three games when we get home because that’s going to be just as tough as being on this trip.”
Washington’s three-game set with the New York Mets in D.C. ended on a high note, with the Nationals trouncing their NL East rivals, 23-5, in the series finale, but they dropped the first two games of the series.
When the stretch of 13 games in 13 days over, Baker told reporters on Sunday that he hoped everyone took advantage of the off day on Monday after they’d wrapped up an at-times impressive 17-8 month of April.
“Some guys had great months, and so we start -- a much needed off day and we start back May 2nd,” Baker said.
“Hope these guys enjoy the off day, because we’ve been dragging, we’ve been running on fumes the last couple days.”
The three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks comes after an emotional series that saw the Nationals lose their everyday center fielder, Adam Eaton, who suffered a torn ACL, a meniscus tear and a high ankle sprain in his left leg on Friday night.
In an interview with ESPN.com’s Buster Olney, Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo talked about the plan going forward, which includes Michael A. Taylor getting the first shot in center.
“Fortunately, it’s one of our greater depth positions in our organization,” Rizzo said.
“We’ve got some really good options out there. I think first and foremost, Michael Taylor, who’s a guy that’s been on the team before.
“He’s got a strong skill set, he’s got great tools and we know what he brings to the ballpark every day. He’s going to give you plus-to-elite defense in center field.
“He’s got a great throwing arm. He’s a plus-plus runner. He can steal you a base when you need a base stolen and he’s got power.
“We need for him to stay in the strike zone more often as a hitter and put the bat on the ball much more often, but he’s got an opportunity to show what he can do.
“We feel that over extended stints he’s shown flashes of being a really, really good major league player, and [for] him it call comes down to contact with the bat cause all the other tools are there.”
Rizzo said Taylor will get the first shot, but mentioned Rafael Bautista, who’s up with the team now, Brian Goodwin, who’s at Triple-A, and Andrew Stevenson, the Nationals’ 2015 2nd Round pick, who was promoted to the Nats’ top affiliate this week after a strong start at Double-A Harrisburg.
Taylor tries to keep it up after two good games following Eaton’s injury. He’s back in the lineup tonight.