Difo, 25, came into the series opener with the Rockies on something of a hot streak, over which he’d put up a .385/.460/.519 line with a double and two home runs in 64 plate appearances.
Difo’s 13 starts in July before Saturday night were the most in any single month this season since April, when the shortstop started 10 games and struggled at the plate, with a .217/.308/.261 line and two doubles in 52 PAs.
After finishing the month of May with a .192/.259/.282 line, Difo has posted a fairly impressive .338/.405/.441 line over the last two months.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker talked earlier this month about the adjustments Difo has made that have resulted in the improvement at the plate.
“We just urged him to stay out of the air,” Baker said, “because he was hitting a lot of fly balls to left and a lot of fly balls and none of them went out of the ballpark, so the best thing if you’re up in the air is to stay out of the air, and so he’s made some adjustments in his swing and his approach, and so we’re working with him and it’s easier to convey these things when a person has some success doing what you’re trying to convey to them.”
Baker talked about Difo’s success again after the loss to the Rockies on Saturday, and said other teams are taking notice as well.
“He’s staying out of the air,” Baker said, “and he’s hitting the other way, then he’ll pull it upon occasion. You see how they were playing him tonight, cause that’s a double down the line, but they were standing right there, so evidently they’ve been scouting Difo too, so the fact [is] that he’s been a tough out and he’s been a clutch man for us in that No. 2 spot, so Difo is playing well.”
Difo’s back in the two-spot this afternoon, and playing second with Adrian Sanchez at short in the first game of the Nationals and Rockies’ doubleheader in the nation’s capital.
NOTE: Howie Kendrick is also making his on-field debut in left with the Nationals after hitting a pinch hit double in last night’s loss.