To say Michael A. Taylor has “struggled” at the plate so far this season, and particularly in the month of May, would be really polite. Going into tonight’s matchup against the San Diego Padres in the nation’s capital, the 27-year-old Washington Nationals’ center fielder had a .189/.254/.314 line, after he went 8 for 60 (.133/.188/.200) with two doubles, one triple, four walks, and 25 strikeouts over 65 plate appearances in 17 games this month.
Taylor did put together his first multi-hit game since April 22nd (23 G) in Monday’s series opener in Nationals Park, but before he stepped to the plate with a runner on second and one out in the ninth inning last night, he was 0 for 3 with two Ks ... though he did make a real strong throw in from center field in the sixth to cut down Jose Pirela as the speedy Padre slid into the plate trying to score from second on a Franmil Reyes single in what was then a 1-1 tie...
Three innings later, Taylor stepped to the plate with Juan Soto on second in the ninth and worked the count full before crushing an 88 mph breaking ball, sending a line drive over Padres’ center fielder Travis Jankowski’s head and off the outfield wall for a walk-off winner.
MASN’s Dan Kolko asked Taylor what he was thinking as he stepped to the plate in the ninth.
“Just trying to relax, not over-think it, stay within my plan, not do too much, the usual,” he said.
Taylor was in the midst of answering a question about his rough month at the plate when he was doused in Gatorade by teammates Bryce Harper and Trea Turner.
“Just working a lot in the cage,” he said after he’d collected himself. “[Hitting coaches Kevin] Long and Joe Dillon have been helping me a lot just trying to get back to where I want to be, try not to get caught up in the numbers. Just go up there, feel good every at bat, and try to put together a good at bat.”
“It was huge,” Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters when asked about Taylor’s hit after the walk-off, 2-1 win.
“And not just for Michael, but for our team, and I’m so happy for him,” Martinez said.
“He’s been working diligently to get his swing right, and the last two days, he’s actually been swinging really well. Before that, the throw he made to home? Incredible. Really was, so this was Michael’s day, and, proud of him.”