Going into Friday night’s series opener with the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals’ infielder Wilmer Difo had reached base in 9 of his last 11 plate appearances.
Difo went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk in the first of three with the Phillies, to make it 12 of 15 PAs. Not too shabby.
Difo, 26, ended the night with a .289/.394/.386 line, five doubles, one home run, 15 walks, and 18 Ks in 31 games and 100 plate appearances this season.
Hitting ninth in the Nationals’ lineup, Difo has been providing a spark as another “leadoff” hitter for Davey Martinez’s squad.
“He’s been walking, which is great,” Martinez said after the Nationals’ 7-3 win.
“He’s starting to stay in the strike zone, that’s the biggest thing with Difo, is just hit strikes, swing at strikes. He can hit, he’s a good player, and I told him, ‘Hey, when you’re hitting in front of a guy like Harp, they don’t want to walk you, and they’re trying to throw strikes, so be ready to hit, but hit strikes,’ and he’s been doing that.”
“He’s doing a great job, having really good at bats, seeing a lot of pitches, and doing what Difo does best, get on base, and I think he’s done a great job,” Bryce Harper told reporters after homering twice in the series opener, the second after Difo walked to start the home-half of the second inning.
Difo’s been playing third, however, and with Anthony Rendon back today, will Difo stay in the lineup? Of course he will. Difo’s playing short today.
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR THE 2ND OF 3 WITH THE PHILLIES IN D.C.:
New #Nats' lineup (Ryan Zimmerman scratched): Harper RF, Rendon 3B, Adams 1B, Kendrick 2B, Stevenson LF, Severino C, Bautista CF, Roark RHP, Difo SS— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) May 5, 2018
NOTE: Updated lineup above after Ryan Zimmerman was scratched with stiffness in his side.