- N.Y. prosecutors: Russian diplomats bilked $1.5 million from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
- Oh my God! Costco lists Bible as fiction, Ron Burgundy memoir as gospel
- Sarah Palin responds to Martin Bashir’s resignation, praises media
- Obama to send 2 Gitmo terror suspects back to Algeria
- Paul Walker secretly bought $9K wedding ring for Iraq vet
- Mystery sign poster hits Washington state town: ‘It’s OK to say Merry Christmas’
- Pope Francis forms commission to advise on sex abuse
- Anthony Weiner on radio? Cumulus says, ‘Never, ever’
Defense leads Nationals to second straight over Marlins
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Since the Nationals handed second baseman Danny Espinosa the keys to the starting second baseman’s job in spring training, they’ve assured him that his defense is what’s going to keep him at this level.
The hitting will come, they’ve told him. The defense must be there.
It was certainly there on Saturday night as Espinosa made three spectacular defensive plays in an overall crisp defensive effort team-wide to help Tom Gorzelanny escape danger a few times in the Nationals 5-2 victory over the Marlins.
“We made that clear to him from spring training,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “‘You’re going to stay here on your glove. Eventually, whether you hit in April, whether you hit in June, your glove is going to keep you here.’ He’s worked very hard defensively, and he played an outstanding second base.”
In the bowels of Sun Life stadium Saturday night, reveling in their second victory in as many days, one Nationals coach went as far as to say it might have been one of the best games the team as played in the last two years.
Playing the type of game defensively that was expected out of them quite often coming into the season, the Nationals helped Gorzelanny put up zeroes in six of his seven innings of work. Despite admittedly not feeling his best physically, Gorzelanny walked four but truly stumbled just once – on a first-pitch fastball to John Buck in the second, following a walk to Mike Stanton, that Buck turned around for a two-run home run to left field.
The left-hander walked Emilio Bonifacio in with two outs in the third, but he was erased on a diving catch in shallow right field by Espinosa. He issued a one-out walk to Omar Infante in the fifth but got a ground out and a fly out to quickly get out of the inning.
And in the sixth, clinging to a one-run lead, he walked the speedy Bonifacio to open the inning. But Espinosa handled that one as well with Hanley Ramirez at the plate, taking a step to his right just before the 2-2 pitch that allowed him to make a sliding stop of Ramirez’s grounder and get Bonifacio at second as the lead runner.
“That was a good play tonight,” said right fielder Jayson Werth, who added his own highlight-reel defensive play two batters later. “It was just a really good instinctual play. For whatever reason he took a step over there and if he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t get to that ball.
“I’ve played behind a really good second baseman for a number of years in Philadelphia. I’ve seen one of the best and I think Danny Espinosa’s got a chance to be a really good player.”
But Espinosa’s play loomed even larger when Werth fielded a single down the right field line by Mike Stanton in the same inning and had the presence of mind to see that Stanton had taken an aggressive turn around first base. Ramirez, who was on his way to third, was being held so Werth sent the relay throw to first base and caught Stanton to end the inning – and the Marlins final scoring threat.
“The timing just worked out perfectly,” Werth said. “It was just one of those plays that it’s hard to explain, and you kind of dream about. It shows up right in your lap, and you’re able to put a good throw, and LaRoche shows up right on the bag.
“It was just one of those plays that you dream about. Really, it was perfect.”
The Nationals, who haven’t won a game by more than three runs since April 17, once again got just enough offense to survive. Roger Bernadina, called up earlier in the day to take the place of injured center fielder Rick Ankiel, was 2-for-3 with a walk in the leadoff spot, ripping two singles in his first two at-bats. Ian Desmond followed with a 2-for-4 evening that included a single and a triple as part of a nine-hit night for the Nationals.
But even when they seem to have a pitcher on the ropes, like they did Chris Volstad in a first inning that featured four straight base hits to open the game and two runs scored, the Nationals can’t seem to capitalize. They let Giants’ left-hander Jonathan Sanchez last five innings despite walking or hitting eight of the first 10 batters a week ago and couldn’t deliver the knockout punch to Volstad Saturday.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- At minimum, a bad deal
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
White House pets gone wild!