Michael A. Taylor went 1 for 3 with a walk and a homer in last night’s series opener in Oakland, hitting his fifth home run of the season 397 feet to center field in Oakland Coliseum.
In 28 games and 114 plate appearances since Adam Eaton’s season-ending injury, Taylor is 32 for 107 (.299/.342/.505) with six doubles, two triples, four home runs, seven walks and 38 Ks. He’s also played a solid center field for the Nationals.
Washington’s skipper Dusty Baker talked after last night’s 13-3 win about the 26-year-old outfielder’s contributions.
“He’s playing and he’s gaining confidence every day,” Baker told reporters.
“The whole key to playing is feeling confident and comfortable, both, and not putting pressure on yourself, and just being natural above all.
“Like Ted Williams used to say, you have to be natural, and he’s been playing lights out.”
It’s not just Taylor who’s done what he can to fill in when needed. Brian Goodwin had a big game in the Nats’ win over the A’s last night too, going 4 for 5 with a triple and his first major league home run as he stepped up and played right field for Bryce Harper, who was serving the second game of his three-game suspension.
Goodwin’s been up and down the last few seasons, but he told MASN’s Dan Kolko he was doing what he could to get comfortable and contribute.
“Basically just stay focused,” he said. “Just tell myself, believe in myself, and know that I belong and when I get a chance to go out on the field to be able to prove that every day.”
Baker said he was happy to see the Nationals’ 2011 first-round pick pick up his first big league blast.
“Very happy, because everybody remembers their first homer,” Baker said, “and his first four-hit game, and he’s worked hard to get here and he’s working hard to stay here, and especially in Bryce’s absence, everybody picked it up in his absence.”
The Nationals get Harper back tomorrow.