Despite the lack of success from the top of the order, Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman, and Chris Heisey all had two hits apiece. The only player who drove in a run in the loss was Danny Espinosa, who came up with a home run when the Washington Nationals needed it.
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For the first four innings, the Nats had no success against Wei-Yin Chen as they managed only one hit (Ramos single in the second). During that time, the Nats weren’t staying patient or working the count against him.
Then, in the fifth, after singles by Zimmerman and Heisey, Espinosa had his big moment. He worked the count full before hitting a fastball over the wall in left for a three-run homer. That home run gave the Nats their only lead of the night.
For Espinosa, it was only his second home run since August 25. That being said, the home run last night gave him 22 on the season, a new career-high. Espinosa isn’t known to hit for average and he strikes out a lot, but he does bring power to the bottom of the order.
It has been a rough second half for Espinosa. Since the All-Star Break, he is hitting .179 with four home runs and 17 RBI’s. His 73 strikeouts are tied with Brandon Belt (Giants) and Ryan Schmipf (Padres) for the second most in the National League over that span. Plus, his .279 on-base percentage is the lowest among shortstops who have played 40 or more games.
Even though Espinosa has struggled mightily at the plate, he still has had a good season in the field. Right now, his seven defensive runs saved are fifth in the NL (according to Fangraphs).
When the postseason does begin, Espinosa won’t be relied upon as much for his offense. Instead, the Washington Nationals will need his defense at shortstop and his ability to lay down bunts tomove runners into scoring position.