- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Aggressive approach paying off for Nationals’ Werth
Question of the Day
The Nationals’ right fielder, known for his patient approach at the plate, had the same on-base percentage as his batting average.
“Unless the scoreboard is wrong, he hasn’t walked yet,” Johnson said.
The scoreboard was not wrong.
Since 2007, 12.6 percent of Werth’s at-bats have resulted in a walk. When it comes to pitches seen per plate appearance, Werth led the National League in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2007, 2008 and 2012, when Werth came just short of the minimum plate appearances needed, his percentage would have easily led the league had he qualified.
So: seven games, no walks? Johnson viewed it as a good sign.
“That just tells me he’s been swinging the bat more aggressively,” the manager said. “His wrist is feeling good and he’s being more aggressive. I like that. He’ll get his walks, I’m not worried about that.”
“I think I have been more aggressive this year,” Werth said shortly after he hit a first-pitch home run in the sixth inning and a second-pitch single in the seventh Tuesday.
“But usually I’m aggressive when I feel good at the plate and when I’m not as aggressive I usually don’t feel as good. It just depends.”
For Werth, any questions that hung over him as he entered the 2013 season centered on the health of the left wrist he broke in May. If it wasn’t at full strength, it wasn’t clear what kind of power he might have. It wasn’t clear what his ability at the plate might be, despite how well he performed down the stretch when he returned in 2012.
Werth has quieted those questions, though, smoking three home runs in his first seven games of the season, and just missing a few others. His power, it seems, has returned in spades.
But the more aggressive approach isn’t necessarily tied into that, Werth said, as much as it reflects more of an overall comfort in the batter’s box.
Over the course of his career, Werth has averaged 4.44 pitches per plate appearance. This season, small sample that it is, that number is down to 3.90. That’s not an insignificant difference.
“A lot of times being aggressive can give you space,” Werth said. “Then you can take pitches because you’re not worried about hitting with two strikes. I am more aggressive when I’m feeling good, but I also am more confident that I can get deep in the count and not worry about getting to a spot where I don’t feel comfortable.”
That doesn’t mean Werth is changing the approach that has brought him to this point. On the contrary, Werth and the rest of the Nationals’ lineup are working to find out just how important seeing a high number of pitches can be.
© Copyright 2014 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- New York Times reporter Carol Vogel accused of plagiarism
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- ISIL destroys key bridge leading to Baghdad; suicide truck bomb severed supply line
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world