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Espinosa wins NL player of the week: 'Probably the best I've ever had'

Espinosa wins NL player of the week: 'Probably the best I've ever had'

The Nationals have seen plenty of NL player of the week awards over the years in their brief history as a franchise in Washington, but perhaps none was quite as surprising as the latest.

On Tuesday, shortstop Danny Espinosa won the honors after putting up not only the best week of his career, but about as good a week as manager Dusty Baker has ever seen.

"I don't know if anyone could have done any better. If somebody had done better, it would have been a super week," the 67-year-old skipper said.

Espinosa hit .423 during the week of June 27 through July 3 with five homers, 17 RBI, four walks and eight runs scored. He led all major leaguers in homers during that stretch and in OPS (1.593).

It was the best week Espinosa has ever had in baseball, no matter the level. He had never done anything quite like this in Little League, high school, college or the minors.

"Probably the best I've ever had. It was a lot of fun," Espinosa said. "That's a long time in baseball. Nothing has ever compared to that week at all. Not even close."

The reason why it's surprising is because of where Espinosa was just a few weeks ago. As recently as June 7 he was hitting just .196. In May he began hitting homers, but lately everything else has caught up.

Espinosa said plenty of family and friends have reached out to him over the past few days to congratulate him on his surge at the plate. He's also taken pride in how happy his teammates and coaches have been for him.

As for how he's put up these numbers, Espinosa described what it's like to get as hot as he's been at the plate.

"You're aware of it. You're seeing the ball well. You're driving the ball like you're supposed to drive it and not missing the pitches. You can draw out long at-bats. You're comfortable and very aware of where you're at," he said.

There have been 20 different NL player of the week awards won by the Nationals. Included in that list are current players Bryce Harper (May 4-10, May 11-17, & Sept. 14-20, 2015),  Max Scherzer (June 15-21 & Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2015), Stephen Strasburg (Sept. 14-20, 2015 & June 7-13, 2010) and Ryan Zimmerman (July 16-22, 2012; Aug. 15-21, 2011; July 30-Aug. 5, 2007).


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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. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.