Wilmer Difo wasn’t in the starting lineup for either of Saturday’s game with Chicago’s Cubs in the nation’s capital, but with now-former Washington Nationals’ second baseman Daniel Murphy in town for the long-weekend series, Difo was a topic of discussion.
Before the start of the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader, Difo, 26, had gone 15 for 60 (.250/.297/.533) with three doubles, a triple, and four home runs in 16 games since he took over at second on an every basis.
“His offense has been — he’s really staying on the ball and using the middle of the field,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters before Friday’s game with the Cubbies.
“He’s driving the ball to left-center field, which is really nice to see. That’s the key for him not trying to do too much. Sometimes, as you see, if he hits a home run, he tends to get big for a little bit. We try to keep him back in the middle of the field. I think Difo’s going to be a really, really, really exciting player. He’s just got to remember to focus on the little things and stay focused on the complete game and he’s going to take off. He really is. He’s exciting to watch. I love when he plays cause he’s got a lot of energy. The last three weeks he’s done unbelievable, he really has, and he plays with a lot of heart, and like I said, a lot energy.”
Difo has already set career marks in games played (130), home runs (7), RBIs (38), and extra-base hits (27) in a single season, and he’s put up a .306/.360/.481 in 66 home games this season, with a .177/.236/.265 line on the road so far in 2018, and as Martinez said, he’s eager to keep on learning.
“He wants to learn, he really does,” Martinez explained, “... and he prides himself on — he wants to play every day. He’s kind of like [Juan] Soto in that way, he loves playing the game of baseball.”
Difo had the night off on Friday, though they only played a couple innings before rain ended things.
Adrian Sanchez got the start at second in the abbreviated outing, and was back out there for both games on Saturday, going 1 for 3 with a walk in the afternoon game and 2 for 4 in the nightcap with a double and a triple.
Difo is back in there today, for the finale with the Cubs in the nation’s capital, but he’s at short with Trea Turner sitting, Adrian Sanchez at second, and Victor Robles leading off...