Daniel Murphy has hits in 12 of the last 14 games he’s played in, including each of his last six, and he’s 17 for 48 (.354/.456/.563) over that stretch, with four doubles, two homers, eight walks, and 13 Ks in 57 plate appearances, but the 32-year-old infielder was kept out of last night’s lineup with what Dusty Baker told reporters was bit of a stiff neck.
"He had it yesterday and I could just tell by the way he was swinging," Baker said, as quoted by ESPN’s Eddie Matz.
Murphy missed some time with a hip issue last month, but has managed to play in 131 games this season with a .321/.382/.546 line, 30 doubles and 22 home runs in 542 PAs, over which he’s produced 135 wRC+ and been worth 3.9 fWAR.
Murphy was one of the veterans on the Nationals’ roster Baker mentioned wanting to keep healthy in a recent MLB Network Radio interview when asked about his approach to the last few weeks after the Nats clinched the NL East crown.
“The guys that I’m really worried about probably would be more like [Daniel] Murphy,” Baker said.
“[Ryan] Zimmerman, some guys that have a history of some leg problems or whatever, and I’ve got to get Jayson Werth some at bats so he can be sharp, and last but not least, the most important guy in this equation is [Bryce] Harper. And he’s doing some baseball activities now, and I’m just hoping and praying that he is close to being Bryce Harper.”
Murphy, of course, had a glute issue late last season that kept him out of the lineup for a few weeks in the lead-up to the Nationals’ NLDS matchup with the LA Dodgers.
He made it back in time for the postseason, going 7 for 16 in the five-game series.
Baker is going to be juggling a lot of concerns over the next couple weeks. Making sure he has a healthy Daniel Murphy come October is definitely one of the big ones.
Murphy is out of the lineup again tonight. We’ll see what Baker has to say today since the reporters on the scene in D.C. are sure to ask.