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Espinosa heating up, Nats stingy with steals, notes on Murphy

Espinosa heating up, Nats stingy with steals, notes on Murphy

Leftover notes and observations from the Nationals' 5-1 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night…

Espinosa is heating up at the right time

All season long fans have been pining for top prospect Trea Turner, who has a .321 average through 48 games at Triple-A Syracuse. Though it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, that looks a lot better than Danny Espinosa's .199 clip and .622 OPS at the big league level. But with his sixth homer of the season on Tuesday night, Espinosa now has three in his last six games and ranks seventh among MLB shortstops in the category. 

Espinosa also made a very impressive play in the field that saved a run. It was in the third inning on a groundball hit by Odubel Herrera to Espinosa with Cesar Hernandez on third. Espinosa fired an absolutely perfect strike to Wilson Ramos at home to aid him in making the tag. It was a quick strike and aimed low right where Ramos needed it to be to make the bang-bang tag.

Turner will be up with the Nats at some point this season and it could be soon now that the service time issue in his contract is a non-factor. But Espinosa showed on Tuesday night the value he can provide both on offense and defense.

Drew's pinch-hit homer ties a Nationals record

Espinosa's two-run homer in the ninth gave the Nats two insurance runs and it was followed by another homer hit by Stephen Drew. Drew's was an inside-the-park homer, the second hit by a Nationals player in the month of May. Drew, 33, made it all the way home on a ball that bounced high off the wall in center field.

It was Drew's second career inside-the-park homer and his first since April of 2010. What made it even more impressive was the fact it came in a pinch-hit situation. It was the Nationals' eighth pinch-hit homer of the season, which ties a team record (2005-present). They have only played 53 games.

After hitting 26 homers in 23 games in April, the Nationals clubbed 43 in 30 games in May, third-most in baseball for the month. The last time the Nats hit more than 43 in one month was September of 2012 when they hit 49. The last time before that in franchise history was in August of 1999 when the Expos had 48. 

Don't run on the Nationals

Ramos caught Herrera stealing second in the bottom of the first in what was just the 20th steal attempt against the Nationals this season, fewest in the majors through two months. They are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals with only 14 steals allowed with six runners caught stealing so far. 

It's not like the Nationals are extra good at catching base stealers. In fact, they rank a modest 11th in baseball with a .667 stolen base percentage. That said, clearly there is something to the fact teams are not testing them. 

Murphy's big month

Daniel Murphy hit his ninth homer of the season on Tuesday and posted his 26th multi-hit game in 51 appearances. You can read more about that here, but CSN researcher Rich Goldberg put together some extra notes about Murphy's memorable month that are worth passing along:

*with 77 hits through 53 games played by the Nationals, Murphy is on pace for 235 hits this season

*Murphy has 26 multi-hit games and 25 total games with 0 or 1-hit

*Murphy's hits-per-game breakdown

4-hit             2
3-hit             3
2-hit            21
1-hit            18
0-hit              7

*47 hits in month of May tied a Nationals/Expos record for most hits in a single month

*Most hits in single month in Nationals/Expos history

  2016 MAY   Daniel Murphy               47
  1994 JUN    Marquis Grissom           47     
  1982 AUG   Al Oliver                         47     
  1993 JUL     Delino DeShields           46    
  1996 APR    Mark Grudzielanek        45     

*.416 average in May is the highest in Nationals/Expos history (Min. 30 AB)

                            Season      H         AB         BA

Daniel Murphy     2016       47        113        .416
Michael Morse     2011       25         62        .403
Dmitri Young      2007         23         58        .397
Jose Vidro           2000        41        106       .387
Troy O'Leary       2002        17         44        .386



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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

USA Today Sports

Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.