Michael A. Taylor made an immediate impact upon returning from over a month on the DL this past Sunday. Taylor came on late after Brian Goodwin was injured in the first of two with the San Francisco Giants, then started in center in the nightcap.
Max Scherzer gave up three straight hits to start the top of the fourth with Denard Span reaching on an infield single, Joe Panik doubling to right field to move Span to third, and Hunter Pence singling to center field to drive Span in for the Giants’ first run, but a strong throw in by Taylor got Panik at the plate as he tried to score.
“At the time that it happened, who knows,” Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters after what ended up a 6-2 win for the Nationals, “... they might have been off to the races, because they had gotten three hits in a row off of Max and you don’t hardly see that.”
Taylor also made an impressive leaping grab in the top of the sixth inning, tracking down a long fly ball off the opposing pitcher’s bat in front of the GEICO sign on the outfield wall.
“The catch was outstanding,” Baker said, “but I think the throw — I [didn’t] think he had a chance to throw out Panik, because most of the time if a guy hasn’t gotten to third base or just rounded it you’ve got a chance to throw him out, but once a guy rounds the bag you don’t have much chance to throw him out, especially from center field.
“He charged and threw a strike, [Matt] Wieters made a great play, and that was big, that kept the game intact.”
At the plate, however, Taylor went 1 for 4 with two Ks, and as Baker said after the win in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader, the 26-year-old outfielder’s timing did not appear to be back quite yet.
“He looked a little bit behind, but that’s to be expected,” Baker explained.
“I’m glad he’s back, and he’s going to better and better and better the more at bats he gets and the better his timing gets.”
After going 1 for 4 with a strikeout on Tuesday night in the Nationals’ 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels, Taylor came back with a 1 for 4, two strikeout game in Wednesday afternoon’s 6-2 loss to LA. He also managed to make another highlight reel grab.
Taylor sprinted in left-center field on a fly ball off catcher Juan Graterol’s bat and made a diving catch for the final out of the Angels’ seventh, tracking down the final out Tanner Roark recorded in his start.
No capes! pic.twitter.com/B95IWkGBQO— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 16, 2017
“That was awesome,” Roark said, “you saw my reaction. That was a hell of a catch.”
“That was awesome,” Baker agreed in his own postgame interview.
“That was the second — Davey Lopes looked at me and I looked at him, and you hear about a guy outrunning the ball, which is very tough to do but Michael has done that twice this week, so that just shows you what kind of outfielder he is, what kind of jumps he gets, what kind of closing speed he has in center field. Michael is playing great, as soon as he gets his timing then he’ll be wide open.”